Our main objective has always been to develop and build a sustainable local renewables industry. This includes transferring existing and well advanced offshore oil and gas supply chain skills and know-how into offshore renewables as well as attracting inward investment in Aberdeen, Scotland and the UK.
Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) is actively supporting diversification of oil and gas skills into renewables and working closely with Aberdeen City Council’s Trade and Inward Investment team to help shape the city’s approach to trade development activities and new investment opportunities to benefit the local economy.
Part of AREG’s strategy is to identify and drive forward projects that will bring economic development value to the region. We want Aberdeen to be as famous for renewables as it is for oil and gas. There needs to be a sustainable energy sector, which supports jobs for future generations and it is important we retain critical energy skills as well as promoting our capabilities across the country and globally.
As Europe’s Energy Capital, the North-east of Scotland is home to over 1,000 energy companies with more than 40 years of world-class upstream oil and gas expertise and much of this is directly transferable to offshore wind energy projects.
Key areas of synergy include project research and development, design, engineering, development, operation and maintenance. We are committed to the transfer of this expertise into renewables to stimulate the growth of Scotland’s industry and a robust and sustainable supply chain.
With a history of more than 50 years, oil and gas remains the dominant energy industry in Aberdeen but companies are realising the major role that offshore renewables can play in the future of the energy markets. More than £500m worth of projects in the North-east of Scotland have been completed, with future projects such as the Beatrice offshore windfarm and the Moray Offshore Renewables Limited (MORL) project set to be worth more than £5.5 billion.
Scotland’s early adoption of renewable energy coupled with decades of experience in the oil and gas industry makes it an attractive location for international investment and a test case for other global developments.
We are proud to have world class facilities for research and testing, a highly skilled workforce and the appropriate infrastructure in place to enable truly significant projects.
The renewables industry has a vibrant future ahead of it. It offers young people the opportunity to carve out successful careers across the full spectrum of sectors – offshore and onshore wind, wave and tidal, biomass, hydrogen, solar, geothermal energy and fuel cells. The career choices are endless, ranging from engineers, scientists and technicians to divers, ornithologists, lawyers, and health and safety advisors.
Offshore wind is a growing sector which presents exciting new business opportunities for the UK supply chain and we want to support companies as they look to explore these new areas. Scotland has about a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource and developers are taking note of the potential for large-scale developments.
We continue to support the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay which will start generating power in summer 2018. This is Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility which is being developed by Vattenfall-owned Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited. The innovative 92.4MW 11-turbine offshore wind scheme will trial next generation technology and once operational, boost the industry’s drive to competitive clean power.
Cost reduction will be critical to achieving these forecasts and maintaining offshore wind’s growth in the longer-term, incorporating best practice from other sectors will be key. There are already many firms from an oil and gas background which are successfully operating within the offshore wind space, proving that cross-sector expertise is of great value to the growing renewables market.
AREG helps members access business opportunities and influential industry players. Membership is open to individuals, businesses and companies involved in the renewable sector and those who are looking to diversify from oil and gas. As well as offshore markets, North-east companies are also diversifying into fields such as bio-energy, heat, solar and electricity storage.
To safeguard the long-term prosperity of our energy-based economy and secure energy supplies for generations to come, we must continue to diversify into new energy resources. This will ensure the region’s position as an internationally-competitive economic power house and build upon its world-renowned reputation as a vibrant place to live, work and visit.
There are many opportunities and AREG looks forward to working together with businesses on the transformation of our energy sector over the coming years.
Morag McCorkindale is chief operating officer with Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.
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