Scottish Offshore Wind Ports Alliance launched

Lerwick Harbour

Ports from across Scotland have launched the Scottish Offshore Wind Ports Alliance (SOWPA) — a forum of the country’s leading infrastructure facilities targeted at optimising the opportunities in offshore wind.

SOWPA is represented by Scotland’s offshore energy ports which hold expertise across the full offshore wind value chain from manufacturing and fabrication, through to marshalling, assembly, and operations and maintenance.

The alliance is developing opportunities to enhance regional competitiveness, drive efficiencies and fast-track the required expertise to support the UK’s burgeoning offshore wind industry.

The alliance includes Kishorn Port, Port of Nigg, Lerwick Harbour, Ardersier Port, Orkney Harbour Authority, Port of Cromarty Firth, Stornoway Port, Port of Montrose, Port of Aberdeen, Fraserburgh Harbour, Port of Inverness, Peterhead Port Authority and Scrabster Harbour.

Global Energy Group executive director Iain Sinclair said: “It is widely recognised that ports have a critical enabling role in the industrialisation and deployment of offshore wind in the UK.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates that ports are motivated to take the initiative, work proactively and diligently together, and align with the whole offshore wind ecosystem, to maximise the localisation of the supply chain requirements.

“SOWPA’s collective capability, knowledge and expertise is a world leading value proposition. We have a willingness and appetite to enhance our competitiveness, address supply chain challenges and deliver against Scotland and the UK’s offshore wind ambitions …

“The ports recognise the scale of the potential opportunity on the horizon and are making significant investments aimed at delivering optimised port infrastructure solutions for offshore wind. We can and want to do more, and this is best achieved by aligning the required enabling infrastructure, with industry needs.

“The crucial role of Scotland’s Green Freeports also cannot be understated. They will be essential in attracting inward investment and paving the way for new supply chain opportunities, which will have a catalytic effect on the pace of deployment.

“However, the enormity of the market opportunity and challenges that come with it, will require ALL of Scotland’s capable ports and their available capacities, to be engaged in the infrastructure plans.”

Minister for Climate Action Gillian Martin said: “Scotland’s ports are crucial in helping unlock our huge offshore wind potential, and private investment – stimulated by up to £500 million of Scottish Government backing over the next five years – will be critical to the continued growth of the sector.

“Partners across the sector and wider supply chain have already shown a strong appetite to take a strategic and collaborative approach to delivering investment in ports, manufacturing and fabrication, and the establishment of the Offshore Wind Ports Alliance will ensure that, collectively, our world-leading infrastructure facilities are optimised to deliver our offshore renewables revolution.”

With ambitions to develop 30GW of offshore wind capacity over the next 10 years through the ScotWind leasing round, the future project pipeline will put substantial pressure on Scottish port capacity due to the significant infrastructure requirements needed to support its efficient deployment, in addition to the ambition to establish new critical manufacturing activities.

Scottish Renewables CEO Claire Mack said: “The global opportunity in offshore wind is huge. Alongside attracting investment to Scotland this alliance will give us the ability to share experiences and expertise meaning our offer to industry is truly excellent.

“We’ve already seen multi-millions of pounds in private sector investment go towards creating world-class facilities which will provide the cornerstone to industrial growth zones in and around our ports for decades to come.”

British Ports Association CEO Richard Ballantyne said: “The energy transition represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Scotland and the ports industry wants to be pivotal in its delivery. Scottish ports have a strong pedigree in supporting several offshore sectors and offshore wind is an evolving industry, to which ports will be central.

“This new alliance will have an important role and feed into the debate about how our sector helps deliver the country’s offshore wind aspirations and how we ensure that energy developers and supply chain operators base their activities and jobs in our ports and coastal regions so that we see the all the economic benefits in this revolution.”