The north coast of Scotland and the Orkney Islands are home to a wealth of supply chain companies with expertise of direct relevance to the wave and tidal energy industry. The area is known for its engineering excellence throughout the world with many local companies already active in the world-wide supply chain for the offshore oil and gas and nuclear energy industries.
The area's long association with the offshore oil and gas sector within the North Sea has led to the establishment of a multi-disciplined supply chain, spanning areas such as:
All of the above resources have been mobilised in support of the emerging wave and tidal energy sector, with considerable private sector investment in provision of new assets.
A new video charts a multi-million pound investment by Orkney companies in specialist vessels to support the marine renewable energy industry.
Filmed at locations across islands, the video highlights how businesses with extensive experience of local sea conditions are underpinning Orkney’s global role in the development of energy generation from waves and tidal streams.
As the home of EMEC, the European Marine Energy Centre, more marine renewable energy devices have been deployed in Orkney waters than at any other single site in the world.
The short film features a fleet of vessels that are used for tasks that include anchor handling, cable and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) work, dive support and the deployment, recovery and maintenance of wave and tidal energy devices.
The vessels are operated by a skilled local workforce, with detailed knowledge of sea conditions in Orkney waters and beyond, and experience in providing support services for range of marine energy technologies.
The video was funded by Orkney Islands Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, through their joint marketing programme, and Stromness company Aquatera.
Councillor James Stockan, who chairs the Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, said: “As you'll discover from this new video, an impressive supply chain of local companies is geared up to support wave and tidal energy developers.
“I’m pleased we can showcase this investment by local businesses in specialist vessels. The Orkney fleet enjoys an excellent track record and will be much in demand as this new industry moves forward towards the commercial deployment of wave and tidal technologies.”
Gareth Davies, Aquatera’s managing director, added: “Not only does the video showcase some of the £100 million investment made by Orkney itself in the renewables sector, it demonstrates the collaboration and co-ordination that can be achieved between the companies that make up the Orkney supply chain.
“We all realise that it is only though working effectively together that this most challenging of energy opportunities will be brought to the market place.”
The wider Highlands and Islands region also boasts some of the UK's finest fabrication and assembly facilities for large offshore structures. Having built their reputation over the past few decades in consulting large pieces of offshore infrastructure for the oil and gas industry, the fabrication yards and service facilities at Nigg and Invergordon in the Cromarty Firth and Arnish on Lewis, all located within a day's steaming time of the main PFOW development sites, are ideally suited to the volume production of hardware for the offshore renewables sector (wave, tidal and offshore wind). Indeed, all three facilities have been used extensively to date to manufacture and assemble many of the full-scale wave and tidal prototype technologes currently under trial at EMEC.
The experience gained by the local supply chain through early device developments at EMEC, as well as being applied to the planning of commerical developments in the PFOW area, is now also being exploited on a global basis with locally based specialist consultancies and service providers, and EMEC itself, exporting their services to many other countries across the world where there is growing interest in marine renewables.