ScotWind – an opportunity to create jobs for generations to come while supporting Scotland’s ‘Just Transition’

By Sian Lloyd-Rees, Managing Director of Aker Offshore Wind UK

The establishment of a floating offshore wind industry in Scotland with a decades-long pipeline of development and export potential will invigorate a broad expansion of the workforce skills in Scotland.

According to work undertaken from the Offshore Wind Industry Council, the number of jobs required to deploy and operate offshore wind farms will more than double to around 70,000 by 2026.

With the ongoing ScotWind leasing round and emergence of large scale floating offshore wind, we can expect a significant number of new jobs to be in Scotland helping a just transition and making Scotland the undisputed international leader in floating offshore wind, with jobs and manufacturing for generations to come.

This creates a great opening to build a diverse and inclusive sector built on equality and opportunity for all, that will require fresh talent at all levels and at all stages of careers.

As Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, put it at the Floating Offshore Wind conference in September 2021: “The ongoing ScotWind leasing process has the potential to transform the energy sector in Scotland, including the transfer of oil and gas workers into renewables and into floating offshore wind in particular – we need to make the most of it.”

At Aker Offshore Wind we have a unique position to lead industry in the creation of new careers and provide a platform for transition of all sectors such as high carbon industries and the Armed Forces.

Our new ScotWind supply chain manifesto, which we have released in conjunction with our partners Ocean Winds, sets out our vision on the conditions to make a green industrial revolution a reality, outlining how our expertise, leadership and investment commitment can achieve this in Scotland.

Being located in Aberdeen, we are at the forefront of the drive to help job transitioning in a region dominated by the oil and gas industry.

At COP26 I spent a day engaged in discussions on the need for a greater diversity of views to engage in the climate agenda, particularly from women – who are often disproportionately affected by the impact of climate change. We need to engage these views as we drive forward with the skills agenda in Scotland and the UK – it will be an essential ingredient in our success.

And Aker Offshore Wind highly values the skills of those transitioning their careers from the military and Colin Brown, our UK business development manager, has created and chairs a working group to promote and support those leaving the Armed Forces.

We are bidding in the ScotWind process for combined developments of up to 6GW of floating offshore wind in the Outer Moray Firth, investing the equivalent of up to £15 billion.

Through direct work and supply chain opportunities, each proposal is estimated to generate more than 5,000 jobs and 200 apprenticeships in Scotland across all project stages, helping to deliver Scotland’s ‘just transition’ from fossil fuels, as well as mobilising the oil and gas and engineering supply chain by providing major new opportunities.

There would also be extensive investment in Scotland’s existing ports and harbours, as well as innovative new subsea technology to deliver our ambition.

More than 30 Memorandums of Understanding are already in place across the supply chain in support of the bids and the early action needed.

We have a commitment to 60 per cent local supply chain content from the UK, of which 40 per cent minimum content will come from Scotland, with early enabling investment of tens of millions of pounds in building supply chain capability within the first four years of winning a site.

We are also working with the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland and the University of Strathclyde to develop a 3D immersive visualisation of the fabrication yard where the WindFloat platforms and turbines would be built, which would become an industrial powerhouse of international significance.

An early focus is required on both the supply chain and the skills to support the development, fabrication, transportation, integration, and installation of floating offshore wind in Scotland.

The energy transition is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Collaborative working between the industry, government, education and skills agencies, specialists in re-training and many more is essential.

That work needs to start now.

Aker Offshore Wind are talking at our Green Skills Conference on the 17th of December, to find out more, please visit the website: