By Marcus Leach

Energy giant SSE, Port of Dundee owner Forth Ports, enterprise agency Scottish Enterprise and local authority Dundee City Council have joined forces under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to secure Dundee’s position as a vibrant hub for Scotland’s rapidly-developing offshore renewables sector.

Representatives of the four organisations discussed their plans with First Minister Alex Salmond today, 15 December 2011, at St Andrew’s House, Edinburgh, where they signed the MoU.

SSE is one of the UK’s leading developers of offshore renewable energy, with major offshore wind projects situated off the east coast. SSE has therefore identified Dundee as a key strategic location for the development of its offshore wind supply chain.

The company has taken a proactive approach to developing its offshore wind supply chain, forming strategic alliances and investing directly in companies of strategic importance.

Recognised as a key asset in Scotland’s National Renewable Infrastructure Plan, the Port of Dundee and the wider City of Dundee have a fundamental role to play in the future development of a comprehensive supply chain to support Scotland’s emerging offshore wind industry.

Initial work, which will be funded by the National Renewable Infrastructure Fund, will capitalise on the Port’s strategic location and competitive advantage by maximising the use of existing space and providing a solid foundation for future investment and expansion.

Scottish Enterprise estimates that as the offshore wind sector develops in the coming years, the Port of Dundee has the potential to support in the region of 700 jobs in offshore wind manufacturing, with further major opportunities for off-port supply chain development in the Dundee area.

“Scotland’s unrivalled offshore wind resource can help power our own economy and provide clean energy beyond our shores," First Minister Alex Salmond said.

"But we also have a fantastic opportunity to become an industrial base for the wider European offshore renewables industry. Our low carbon energy industry is already bringing together a range of enterprises — from major Scottish-based utilities such as SSE, home-grown clean-tech developers and traditional offshore companies expanding their renewables business, to global engineering giants and other European power providers investing in clean energy in Scottish waters.

“I’m determined that communities across Scotland will contribute to and benefit from the renewables revolution that’s sweeping Europe and beyond. As one of our great port cities, Dundee is ideally-placed to become a key hub for the rapidly growing multi-billion pound offshore renewables industry, particularly and initially in offshore wind.

"The partners have all recognised and seized the opportunity by agreeing this MoU today. The work that follows the signing of the MoU will not only ensure that the port is used most effectively, but will ensure that the public and private sector work together to re-energise the city more widely, through associated infrastructural improvements and economic benefits.”

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