Offshore Wind Meet the Buyer Event Brings Scottish Supply Chain Together

Offshore Wind Meet the Buyer Event Brings Scottish Supply Chain Together

More than 100 Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) members and Scottish businesses attended an innovative Offshore Wind Meet the Buyer event aimed at bringing together the Scottish supply chain and the firm behind the world’s first floating wind turbine.

AREG, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, welcomed suppliers from across the country to meet senior project managers from Norwegian energy company Statoil in Aberdeen, where they found out more about how their expertise could be used in future Statoil projects, including a new development planned offshore Peterhead.

In 2010, Statoil launched the Hywind development off the south west coast of Norway. A world first, the full-scale, floating wind turbine extends 100 metres beneath the sea and was designed to act as a demonstrator, testing how wind and waves affect the structure.

Following successful trials, Statoil now plans to develop larger pilot sites consisting of up to five turbines – one of which is earmarked for the Buchan Deep, situated off the coast of Peterhead.

AREG’s Meet the Buyer event, which was one in a newly introduced series of such events, was designed to give supply chain companies the opportunity to find out about the timing and procurement processes for planned contracts and business opportunities around the new site.

Torgeir Nakken, project manager of the Buchan Deep Project, said: “The Hywind concept is a door opener for entirely new renewable energy business opportunities and can potentially unlock huge offshore areas for clean energy production. The Buchan Deep is one of the areas we have focused on for our pilot park.

Presentations were given by Mr Nakken and the Statoil project team including supply chain manager Astrid Morken and specialist consultant Liz Foubister from Xodus Group.

Mr Nakken continued: “We engaged with vessel suppliers, cable layers, and offshore construction companies as well as research organisations and universities. It was an opportunity for us to meet with potential businesses looking to further develop this new technology.”

Chief operating officer at AREG, Morag McCorkindale, said: “AREG is committed to helping to stimulate the growth of Scotland’s renewables industry. This includes encouraging the development of a sustainable supply chain, particularly in the short term, offshore wind, and facilitating the transfer of vital oil and gas skills into renewables.

“The Hywind pilot project has the potential to make a considerable difference to the future of offshore wind and AREG is pleased to be playing a part in helping to bring this to fruition.”

Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and clean technologies at Scottish Enterprise, said: “As a new and growing industry it’s often easy to underestimate the scale of the potential opportunity of offshore wind, which goes far beyond the development and construction of wind farms.

“It’s vital that companies in our supply chain are aware of how they can benefit from this growth and events like this and the Buchan Deep Project help raise awareness of the opportunities and encourage companies to consider where their current skills and operations can be applied to this industry.”

AREG members gained a greater insight into Statoil’s Buchan Deep project and found the Meet the Buyer event very useful.

Euan Wilson, a sales manager at Aberdeen-headquartered company, Enterprise Engineering Services (EES), which provides a complete engineering service from fabrication and assembly to installation and inspection for the energy industry, onshore and offshore, said:

“We wanted to find out how we may be able to help with this project and others. The AREG event helped us get a lot more information on the PPQ process which was important because while our company is largely involved in oil and gas, we have also diversified into renewables by providing engineering and fabrication support. It’s important that we know how we fit into the bigger picture in what is a niche market.”

David Craft is business development manager, UK and Ireland, at Hochtief Solutions AG, which is part of the HOCHTIEF Group. HOCHTIEF Solutions offers complete, integrated services from development and planning, construction and control right through to comprehensive facility, property and energy management services.

“I have been to a few AREG events and personally, I find them very professional, well organised and informative,” he said. “They also give people a good opportunity to network and through the renewables sector, I find Aberdeen to be a very positive and warming city. The Statoil event confirmed my existing knowledge of the project and I also learned new things such as timescales and processes.”

David Hinshelwood, head of business development (Renewables) for Babcock at Rosyth, Babcock International Group – a leading UK company specialising in engineering support services – also found the event insightful.

He said: “We’re actively involved and progressing opportunities throughout the offshore renewables sectors and as part of a general, fact-finding mission we wanted to get some more background information about the Hywind project.

“The event was very informative and I thought Statoil was very open and honest about their timelines and aspirations. I also wanted to increase our engagement with Scottish Enterprise, particularly with respect to renewables so the event was very worthwhile.” 

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Press release, October 30, 2013; Image: Scottish Enterprise

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