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North-east investment group has offshore wind ‘firmly’ in its sights, Sir Ian Wood says

© DC ThomsonOpportunity North East, chairman, Sir Ian Wood
Opportunity North East, chairman, Sir Ian Wood

An investment fund created to establish diversification across the north-east of Scotland has offshore wind “firmly in its sights”, according to Sir Ian Wood.

Sir Ian, chairman of Opportunity North East (ONE), announced last night at the organisation’s annual general meeting that it was targeting the energy transition to safeguard the region’s economic future.

He said ONE will look to put more money and focus into building up and supporting the north-east supply chain as the North Sea oil and gas sector depletes and transitions to cleaner energy.

It will also target growth in the food and drink, agriculture, life sciences and tourism sectors.

He said: “We’ve got offshore wind firmly in our sights.

“I think it is actually going to become really, very important as it’s extremely environmentally friendly and viable because there’s a very windy ocean out there.”

He added Aberdeen “needs to become a significant base for offshore wind support.”

Sir Ian was joined by ONE chief executive, Jennifer Craw, who said the industry-led, privately-funded organisation had heard the call from the sector and wider society.

She said: “The energy transition is here, it is our new reality.

“We’ve still got to maximise and internationalise oil and gas but we need to up our role in delivering the energy transition because the technical engineers, project management, know-how and supply chain all sit very strongly here in the north-east.”

Through the Wood Foundation Sir Ian has committed £62 million over 10 years to help support ONE projects aimed at strengthening and diversifying the local economy.

It is hoped this money will be bolstered by a further £62m from co-investors and partners in both the public and private sectors in a bid to deliver “transformational projects.”

He added: “What we need to get is a balance and that means that everyone needs to sign on to the climate change issue.

“So, if you’re in oil and gas what you’re trying to do is reduce the emissions of your production – and there are a number of ideas underway in that – but also to diversify expertise into some of the other energy activities, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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