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Subsea UK highlights huge opportunities in offshore wind

Subsea UK has highlighted the huge opportunity for subsea companies to step-up and play their part in helping to meet the world’s renewable energy targets at an event in Aberdeen today.

Chaired by Neil Gordon, Chief Executive of Subsea UK, the event welcomed speakers from SIEM Offshore Contractors, Ecosse Subsea Systems, DeepOcean, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and James Fisher Marine Services, to discuss the synergies between the subsea and offshore renewable industries, share lessons learned, and examine the role that offshore renewables will play in the future energy mix.

Neil Gordon

The seminar examined how the industry could work together to simplify existing initiatives; in a bid to increase efficiencies and reduce the cost of installing and maintaining wind farms.

Neil Gordon, commented: “The recent UK Government CFD (Contract for Difference) auction produced three contracts in offshore wind. This produced a new “strike price” of £57.50 MWh which is half what it was in 2015. By bringing together companies that are already active in the offshore renewables space, it was an opportunity to examine developments that have proven to be a success, while highlighting the challenges and the entry routes into the offshore wind market.”

Roy Kirk, Area Manager for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) revealed how organisations like HIE, Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway can help companies overcome some of the barriers by offering free advice on market entry requirements, diversification strategies and supply chain positioning.

Alex Gauntt, Business Development Manager of SIEM Offshore Contractors, and a well-known figure in the British renewables industry looked at the development, planning and construction phases of offshore wind and tidal projects. He provided an insight into the successful inter-array cable installation and post-lay burial activities for the EUR 1.9 billion Veja Mate offshore wind farm project in Germany. The project saw SIEM install 73 composite submarine power cables totalling 97 kilometres in length.

Iain Middleton, of Ecosse Subsea focussed on the “Simple, Safe, Robust” ethos that Ecosse applies to its operations and highlighted the company’s SCAR Seabed System used on many offshore wind projects in the UK and overseas.

“With a significant number of developments launching over the next few years, and with world renowned experience in offshore oil and gas engineering, the UK has the skills and expertise to lead the way. However, to do this, it’s vital we build alliances, strengthen the supply chain and embrace new technologies,” Neil Gordon added.

Attendees also heard from John Best, Head of Sustainable Energy at James Fisher and Sons who said that there is a huge window of opportunity for the UK to make its mark in the renewables sector over the next decade. He stressed the powers of collaboration and the skills challenge – the importance of making the industry appealing to youngsters, so they are aware of the pathways into the industry.

Jonathan Edwards, Business Development director of DeepOcean also provided an insight into the recent cable lay for the Nemo Link project that will eventually see the national electricity grids of the UK and Belgium connected via a landmark subsea development.

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