SCOTLAND’S offshore wind supply chain is worth almost a £1 billion a year and is of course to almost triple in size by the end of the decade, according to new research.
It found the sector contributed £889 million to the economy as the third largest most valuable renewable source. The more long established onshore wind and hydropower industries were found to be worth £2.4 billion and £915m respectively during 2019.
The third supply chain impact report, published by the industry representative organisation Scottish Renewables, highlighted 32 firms as case studies working across Scotland’s green energy industry and employing a total of 22,600 people.
It features suppliers from the Borders to the islands involved in all renewable technologies including offshore and onshore wind, hydro, wave and tidal as well as green hydrogen and low-carbon heat.
Scottish Renewables’ chief executive Claire Mack said: “Renewable energy projects across Scotland deliver many benefits to our urban, rural and island communities, providing low-carbon heat, transport and electricity as well as creating employment opportunities for the people who live there.
“Scottish Renewables’ Supply Chain Impact report highlights the positive impact renewables projects can have and these case studies show that the strength of Scottish suppliers is being recognised not only in the Scottish market but globally.
“Both the onshore and offshore wind sectors, which provide so much of the economic benefit highlighted in this report, are pushing hard for huge growth, including from the 17 new offshore projects which came through the recent ScotWind Leasing round.”
She added: “That means the potential future pipeline of renewable energy projects in Scotland has never been stronger, and the time is now for both the UK and Scottish governments to work with industry to build on the successes highlighted in this statement by investing in innovation, infrastructure and technology to support supply chain development to make the most of these opportunities.
“Our native supply chain already boasts innovative start-ups and evolving established organisations which are working to create unique added value for green energy projects while also driving economic activity here in Scotland. The companies celebrated in the document demonstrate only a small proportion of the complex supplier network required to deploy net-zero technologies and there is increasing opportunity on the horizon for further supply chain growth.”
The businesses cited in the report include:
• Global Energy Group – a company which supported two of Scotland’s largest offshore wind farms, Moray East and Seagreen, from its Port of Nigg facility.
• RJ McLeod – a longstanding Scottish civil engineering and building contractor which has built more than 100 Scottish onshore wind farm projects.
• Kensa Group – the UK’s leading ground source heat pump specialist, which has saved over one million tonnes of carbon since 1999 through its installations.
• Renewable Parts – a supplier based in Lochgilphead, providing wind turbine parts and components with a focus on the circular economy.
• Locogen – an experienced consultancy supporting all renewable technologies, including emerging green hydrogen projects.
Paul Cooley, director of capital projects at SSE Renewables, which sponsors the annual Supply Chain Impact Statement, said: “This important report highlights not just the huge value our industry is currently generating for Scotland’s economy, but also the opportunity which lies ahead if we can maximise the economic benefits from the growth of renewables in Scotland over the next decade.
“Quite rightly there will continue to be a focus on the potential benefits which the growth of offshore wind can deliver and SSE Renewables has recently put its money where its mouth is by announcing our intention to invest £15 million directly in the proposed tower factory at Nigg.”
Andy McDonald, head of low-carbon transition at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Scotland has huge supply chain capabilities across renewables and the wider energy industry deftly illustrated in the latest Supply Chain Impact Report from Scottish Renewables.
“The recent ScotWind Leasing round highlights the prospects for Scottish businesses and we will continue to support Scottish companies to capitalise on their expertise and seize such opportunities to secure offshore wind work and help meet global net-zero goals through low-carbon energy solutions.”