Supply chain businesses from across Scotland packed a special ‘Meet the Buyer’ event in Argyll to hear about the opportunities that could be available thanks to ScottishPower Renewables’ planned MachairWind offshore windfarm.
Organised in conjunction with the DeepWind offshore wind cluster, HIE and Argyll & Bute Council, the event gave businesses the chance to find out more about the project, which will be ScottishPower’s first offshore windfarm in the region.
MachairWind will be developed in the waters north-west of Islay and west of Colonsay. With a proposed generating capacity of 2GW, it could produce enough clean, green electricity to power the equivalent of more than two million homes across the UK.
A £25 million Supply Chain Stimulus Fund will be available as part of the project to support investment in Scottish infrastructure and facilities for offshore wind and help companies innovate and upskill and become a key part of the clean energy future.
This is in addition to direct project investment in supply chain facilities and will directly support the Scottish supply chain.
Businesses at the ‘Meet the Buyer’ event represented a wide range of specialist products and services including construction, consultancy, engineering, fabrication, marine services, plant and vessel hire, and port services.
In addition to finding out what MachairWind could mean for them, they also heard real-life examples of the difference ScottishPower’s flagship East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm – off the coast of Suffolk – has made to local businesses across the East of England.
Through East Anglia ONE, the renewables company has invested more than £145 million across the local supply chain, supporting jobs and driving economic growth. This includes £30 million in ports, almost £77 million in construction-related activity, more than £24 million in operations and maintenance contracts, and around £14 million in supporting services.
Robert Bush, General Manager at the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR), said: “Presenting to the supply chain in Oban was a fantastic opportunity for EEEGR to demonstrate the positive impact that East Anglia ONE has had on our local economy. The investment that East Anglia ONE brought to the region has had a transformational impact locally, not only for businesses and the community, but also with education providers in promoting the rewards of working in the exciting and innovative sector.”
Jenna Perry, Business Development Manager at the Stowen Group, added: “Stowen’s rapid rate of business growth has come solely because of the opportunities we have seen within the offshore wind sector. Our relationship with ScottishPower Renewables has played a significant role in helping us achieve a number of contract wins, which has supported our strategic placement into the renewables market and helped us to become the provider of choice.”
ScottishPower Renewables’ Senior Project Manager for MachairWind, Kiera Wilson, said: “It was fantastic to see so much interest in MachairWind and get a better understanding of how the skills, capabilities and experience across the Scottish supply chain fit with what’s required for our first offshore windfarm in Argyll & Bute.
“It was also brilliant to showcase the power of the offshore wind industry and what it can do for local businesses thanks to our guests from the East of England.
“What we have achieved in East Anglia is testament to our commitment to growing local supply chains around our projects and supporting businesses to enter the offshore wind industry to maximise future opportunities. It really gave a flavour of what MachairWind could help deliver not just across Argyll and the west – but right across Scotland.
“It’s a really exciting time and we’re very proud to be working with industry and the supply chain on that journey towards a cleaner and greener future.”