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Scottish offshire wind supply chain must rely on foreign manufacturers, says expert

Scotland cannot build an entire offshore wind supply chain locally and will have to collaborate with foreign manufacturers, an industry expert told the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference yesterday.

It is “just not credible” to think Scotland should build an end-to-end supply chain locally, said management and IT consulting and technology firm PA Consulting Group managing consultant James Hamilton. Prioritisation would be crucial to avoid failure, he said. “We cannot do everything.”

“It is just a reality that not all the manufacturing work will come here,” he said. “We should perhaps play to Scotland’s significant strengths — these could be in areas like steel fabrication and gearbox manufacture. We believe Scotland stands the best chance of being successful when we work as part of a global supply chain — some businesses here might make equipment that is deployed locally, others might produce components that are deployed elsewhere.”

Hamilton said the current main problems in the supply chain include concerns over sourcing steel at the right price, having sufficient vessel capacity, whether the regulatory environment will be favourable, whether grid connections will be adequate and whether manufacture can be delivered at the right scale and cost.

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