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Archive for February, 2014

Scottish Renewables Offshore Wind Conference

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

From Claire L Ross , Senior Development Manager Offshore Wind Energy, Highlands and Island Enterprise

I started in the HIE Energy team at the end of 2013 and my role focuses on developing a sustainable offshore wind energy sector in the Highlands and Islands. As a newcomer to the offshore wind industry, the 2014 Scottish Renewables Offshore Wind and Supply Chain Conference Exhibition on 28-29 January offered a fantastic opportunity for me to meet the developers and main companies involved in the industry and to hear first hand about their plans.

 In the run up to the conference I was aware of the growing uncertainty and concerns over the mood of the industry following delays in consenting Scottish projects and recent announcements on Electricity Market Reform (EMR). Eddie O’Connor, Founder and Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power, highlighted these in his opening speech and pushed for “strong action on pricing” and “intelligent fore sighting on grid”. It will be interesting to see how his calls for a European Supergrid progress.

 Although EMR and consent delays were prominent in conference discussions, I was pleased to see that confidence in offshore wind remains strong and developers are making progress with ambitious projects in Scottish waters.

 Fergus Ewing summed this up well when he said in his ministerial address that ‘the darkest hour is before the dawn”. His speech acknowledged the challenges that exist, but encouraged optimism and reinforced the Scottish Government’s commitment to developing offshore wind in Scotland.

 The huge potential of Scottish offshore wind was especially evident in the speed update session, which allowed developers and some key turbine manufacturers to present their plans for the next few years. I realised how important my role is in ensuring we make the most of the massive investment in the region and in supporting supply chain companies so they are ready to tap into the offshore market.

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