A £900,000 project being launched at Scotland’s largest offshore windpower conference in Aberdeen today is aimed at supporting growth in the industry’s supply chain.
It is hoped it will help more than 600 Scottish firms to capture a share of an estimated 28,000 new jobs and £7billion of investment being ploughed into the sector.
Scottish Enterprise (SE) chief executive Lena Wilson will announce the initiative, the Offshore Wind Expert Support Programme, during her opening address to more than 600 delegates at the Scottish Offshore Wind Conference and Exhibition.
Organised by SE and Scottish Renewables, the event is on today and tomorrow at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.
SE’s new programme is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and comes on the back of a pilot during 2011.
It will offer up to two days of free specialist, one-to-one support and companies will also be encouraged to look at new opportunities and ideas for diversifying their business to win new work in the offshore wind sector.
Ms Wilson said: “Scotland has the potential to boast a thriving supply chain of companies across the main stages of offshore wind.
“Our analysis suggests there are more than 750 companies already supplying products and services to the market, or who have the ambition to diversify into offshore wind.
“This new initiative is designed to offer specialist support to help those Scottish businesses with the potential and ambition to secure as much of this exciting new industry as possible.
“Many of our existing strong industry sectors such as oil and gas, engineering, aerospace and construction have transferable skills and expertise for the offshore wind market and with construction of offshore windfarms around the UK imminent, we want Scottish businesses to maximise the economic opportunity.”
SE says about 5,500 offshore wind turbines are likely to be built in the seas around the UK over the next decade and plans are already under way to make sure offshore windpower developers have all the support they need in terms of products and services.
Ms Wilson said: “The economic prize is high to those who are off the starting blocks quickly.”