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30 January 2024

Harnessing the Power of Collaboration: Our Takeaways from the Offshore Wind Conference 2024

The winds of change are sweeping across Scotland, and as we embark on this new era in renewables, ports will be a vital partner. The Scottish Renewables Offshore Wind Conference highlighted the critical role that these maritime gateways will play in the development and expansion of Scotland's offshore wind industry. 

By gathering industry leaders from across the sector, the event served as a platform for Orkney Future Ports to have insightful discussions on overcoming challenges and seizing the opportunity of a generation.

Commitment from the Top

“There are moments when certain industries can stand confident that when they look ahead, they will see a future in which they play a pivotal role in securing the wealth and wellbeing of a nation - Scotland’s offshore industry is at that moment.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf’s speech at the opening of the conference spoke of the vital role ports will have to play in the success of the Scottish offshore wind industry.

He revealed that three projects with a total capital expenditure of around £500 million have progressed to Stage 2 of the Strategic Investment Model (SIM) process. Although not known yet, the projects, which include a combination of local and inward investments in ports, port infrastructure, and manufacturing, signify a crucial step forward for Scotland's offshore wind sector.

Calls for Further Investment

During the two-day event, Orkney Future Ports caught up with both familiar and new faces, chatting about the opportunities and challenges ahead. Of course, the need for smart investments in port infrastructure to support the growing sector is top of everyone’s priority list. 

Whilst many ports are well-placed for the ScotWind and INTOG sites due to spring up in the next ten years, it's vital that new facilities for bigger and more advanced wind turbines are prioritised. This way, we can make the most of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.

Showcasing our Strengths

During the event, our Business Development Manager, Paul Olvhoj, was part of a supplier showcase, which gave a range of skilled and innovative suppliers the chance to provide a snapshot of the different products, services and solutions on offer in the offshore wind sector. The session gave insight into the inner workings of the companies designing, constructing, installing and operating within complex green energy projects. Paul shared Orkney Future Ports' plans, detailing how these will provide a range of marine infrastructure developments to support offshore wind, making Orkney a one-stop hub for the sector.

Collaboration is Key

It’d be easy to assume that ports in Scotland are in fierce competition with one another, each trying to be on top and reap all the rewards. But, with so much activity on the horizon, there's plenty of opportunity to go around for everyone. 

Orkney Future Ports are in constant dialogue with other ports from around the country and recognise that, like many other aspects of life, everyone is stronger when we work together.

What’s next?

The eagerly-anticipated outcome of our application to the Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS) is our next milestone. Any funding received from this will endorse Scapa Deep Water Quay, our nationally recognised project, and help get it up and running.

After events like the Offshore Wind Conference, our Orkney Future Ports team always leaves with renewed energy and excitement for the future. As Paul puts it: “We’ve had a great two days talking to people, and meeting our clients, and we look forward to continuing these discussions going forward.”