Another of the partnerships seeking to bag offshore wind farm rights in Scottish waters has joined the throng pledging gifts in the run-up to Christmas.
SSE Renewables, Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corporation and Danish fund management company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) say their ScotWind leasing round partnership may lead to a £10 million education, research and community benefit fund.
Their offer to back projects promoting advances in Scottish research, education and community wellbeing is contingent on the partnership’s ScotWind bids succeeding.
This funding programme will be able to advance the development of key skills for our industry.”
Paul Cooley, SSE Renewables.
SSE Renewables and its partners say the fund would be used to support research into “enabling initiatives” to aid consenting processes and “help unlock the potential of Scotland’s offshore wind sector”.
It would also be used to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) learning and apprenticeships to “help inspire and train the skilled people needed to deliver projects,” they say.
In addition, it would directly support social, wellbeing and environmental projects that benefit local communities.
£100m supply chain pot
The new fund is in addition to the £100m pot announced by the partnership in September to directly invest in companies in the Scottish supply chain should its ScotWind bids succeed.
The proposed supply chain fund is aimed at supporting new entrants to the sector and allowing those already established to upscale their facilities to increase their competitiveness.
SSE Renewables and our partners are willing to put our money where our mouth is.”
Paul Cooley, director of capital projects, SSE Renewables, said the proposed new fund shows “SSE Renewables and our partners are willing to put our money where our mouth is to provide an important boost to Scotland’s education, research and community benefit from the country’s next generation of offshore wind farms.”
He added: “This funding programme will be able to advance the development of key skills for our industry by promoting Stem careers in schools and supporting apprenticeship programmes, support research to help Scotland’s renewable ambitions thrive, and provide much-needed funding to help improve the welfare of communities.
“We will draw on our local knowledge allied to our global experience to ensure this funding can deliver optimum value for all stakeholders.
“This includes building on our existing memorandum of understanding with the University of the Highlands and Islands to work with them to develop skills, employability and research activity that will deliver meaningful and long-lasting benefits to Scotland.”
Hisafumi Manabe, president and chief executive, Marubeni Offshore Wind Development Corporation, said: “Our industry has always shown incredible resilience in overcoming any barriers to the development of technology and deployment of capacity.
“Research has played an important role and that is why part of this fund will be used to work with experts to develop research in key areas such as ornithology to not only assist project development but to also help government with consenting processes.”
CIP partner Michael Hannibal said: “It is important we recognise that we will become part of the communities that are close to the onshore and offshore infrastructure for our projects.
“Part of this £10m fund will be to support community initiatives and enhance their social wellbeing and sustainability.”
According to Scottish Renewables’ parent, Perth-based energy group SSE, further details about the deployment and management of the new fund will be announced at a later date – if the partnership is successful in the Crown Estate Scotland (CES) ScotWind auction.
Earlier this week energy giant BP said plans to build four new ships to support offshore wind farms could deliver an economic boost to Scotland by supporting about 500 jobs.
But the announcement came with a warning that BP may look elsewhere for somewhere to build vessels to support its offshore wind projects in the Irish Sea if it fails in its ScotWind bid – made jointly with German company EnBW – for a 2.9-gigawatt wind farm in the North Sea.
BP and EnBW have pledged a potential £10 billion investment package to make Scotland a global leader in offshore wind and accelerate the country’s energy transition.
CES aims to make initial offers to successful applicants to its ScotWind bidding auction in January.