A NEW independent report has set out a series of five recommendations to transform how Scottish companies secure work in offshore wind.

The Strategic Investment Assessment (SIA) report was commissioned by the Scottish Government and offshore wind industry and led by Professor Sir Jim McDonald of the University of Strathclyde.

It recommends a focus on bringing the manufacturing of floating offshore wind platforms to Scotland, through the creation of a Scottish Floating Offshore Wind Port Cluster, with ports acting in partnership to provide the required infrastructure area.

It also highlights a low-regret option to invest in an additional 22 hectares of port capacity suitable for offshore wind platform fabrication. The report says this could deliver £1.5 billion in economic benefit to Scotland.

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It says this initial investment could help underpin longer-term growth in port space, and that further investment in port capacity could grow this figure to £4.5bn.

The five recommendations are:

- The offshore wind sector’s priority must be the establishment of a collaboration framework focused on building confidence amongst Scottish ports, so that required investment is brought forward in time. The immediate priority of such a collaborative framework is supporting the creation of a Scottish Floating Offshore Wind Port Cluster

- Support Scottish suppliers and get them ready to bid for and win work

- Celebrate and sell Scottish success

- Plan for future growth and the next generation of innovations

- Plan for energy transition and a future of far-from-shore, mixed-use energy projects

The report says that in order to help ports invest so they are ready to support projects coming out of the current ScotWind Leasing round, a new partnership will be needed. It also says that the industry must learn from sectors like oil and gas, and develop a collaborative framework for the future requirements of the offshore wind sector, and highlights the need for the UK and Scottish governments to help prime early investment to build world-class port facilities.

The SIA identifies Scottish subsea engineering companies as a priority group well suited to offshore wind, and sets out a range of actions needed to help them better engage with and win work from top tier offshore wind companies.

Report lead McDonald said: “Scotland is a leader in climate action as well as in low-carbon technology, research and innovation, with a commitment to a just energy transition.

Scotland will be one of the first countries in the world looking to deliver floating offshore wind at scale. If Scottish companies are involved in this first generation of floating offshore wind projects, then they will be in a position to sell this expertise around the world.

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“However, winning this opportunity will need collective effort and determination. Scottish Ministers and industry leaders must clearly understand and provide the level of commitment and action needed, and create the opportunity to forge an effective partnership if we are to grow Scottish success.”

Net Zero and Energy Secretary Michael Matheson added: “The offshore wind sector has a vital role to play in de-carbonising our energy system and ensuring we become a net-zero economy by 2045.

“With a pipeline of new projects set to be provided by the first cycle of ScotWind leasing, the Scottish Government committed to setting out this Strategic Investment

Assessment within our first 100 days of government as we seek to better support the offshore wind supply chain and create further good, green jobs as we deliver a just transition to net zero.”