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US safety specialist chooses Glasgow for global offshore wind HQ

Article Republished By Javier Troconis

The move by UL comes on the back of the ScotWind leasing round that will generate billions of pounds of work for suppliers from projects around the coast of Scotland.

Illinois-based UL, which operates across more than 100 countries, is increasingly active in the offshore wind industry where it provides services including technical advice and due diligence to investors, owners and operators.

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David Parkinson, the offshore wind lead in UL’s asset and sustainability performance division, will head up the new office. Mr Parkinson, who previously worked for Aberdeen energy group Wood, has significant experience of offshore wind due diligence, and has worked on many large-scale projects in Europe and the US.

He said the ScotWind auction had shown that Scotland is “one of the global hubs of ambitious, pioneering offshore wind development”, adding: “To help advance offshore wind developments, we want to be in close proximity to our customers. Glasgow is a natural choice for UL’s base of our global offshore wind service offerings.

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“From here, we will be well-placed to work with customers in all major territories and markets, offering technical advisory, due diligence and software solutions to stakeholders working across the full spectrum of offshore wind.”

According to the Global Wind Energy Council’s 2021 report, offshore wind has the greatest growth potential of any renewable energy technology, with seven times more capacity than the current market and a 15 per cent increase on the previous year’s forecasts.

The offshore wind sector is set for significant growth in the years ahead. Picture: Getty Images.The offshore wind sector is set for significant growth in the years ahead. Picture: Getty Images.
The offshore wind sector is set for significant growth in the years ahead. Picture: Getty Images.

Recent figures from Crown Estate Scotland showed that each of the offshore wind projects that were successful in the ScotWind leasing round could spend an average £1.5 billion in Scotland.

Major energy companies including ScottishPower, Shell, SSE and BP were among the successful bidders who will pay some £700 million for the rights to development projects.

Right price?

However, Scottish ministers were recently accused of selling Scotland’s offshore wind potential “on the cheap” by the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton who believes more could have been generated from the process. He argued that a similar auction in England was more lucrative for the public purse.

“Scotland’s seabed can only be sold once. The Scottish Government has sold these national assets on the cheap. They have thrown away a fortune,” he said.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the process used by the Crown Estate was “fully transparent” and that care was needed when making comparisons due to differing levels of complexities with the Scottish round, particularly around water depth.

She stressed the £700m was not the only income from the projects and there would be “very significant” economic benefits.

The ScotWind auction resulted in 25 gigawatts (GW) of capacity being awarded, more than double the 10GW initial target.

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