Two main floating wind supply chain clusters in Scotland and Norway, DeepWind and Norwegian Offshore Wind (NOW), have struck a lead-off deal to work together on development of future projects in the North Sea.

The pair, which signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday (Wednesday) at the Norwegian Floating Wind 2022 conference in Haugesund, aim to “help accelerate the delivery of this technology” in two countries’ offshore exclusive economic zones (EEZ).

“Scotland and Norway have the two largest offshore EEZs in Europe, much of which is in deeper waters, usually considered to be beyond 60 metres of water depth, and this enormous resource can only be accessed utilising floating wind technologies,” DeepWind and NOW said in a statement.

Scotland and Norway’s “long history” of North Sea developments in the oil & gas sector mean “it makes sense that this should continue in the new era of energy transition as both countries seek to transfer people and skills from the old paradigm to the new one”, they said.

Paul O’Brien, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and DeepWind cluster manager said: “Scottish and Norwegian companies have a strong heritage regarding the production of energy from the North Sea and particularly when it comes to applying lessons learned and technologies from the oil & gas sector to floating offshore wind.

“The origins of many members of both DeepWind and the Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster reflect this fact and it seems natural that our two clusters should co-cooperate to help develop the huge natural resource to be found in our shared North Sea areas”.

NOW chief Arvid Nesse added: “Combined, the clusters have more than 1,000 businesses in their portfolio that cover the whole supply chain in offshore wind. This creates a scalable platform for cooperation and partnership with substantial impacts and it will be mutually beneficial for Norway, Scotland and the entire industry in Northern Europe.”

The two organisations believe their collaboration would benefit not only their respective national sectors but “Europe as a whole” as its strives to reach Brussel’s energy transition targets by building as much as 450GE of offshore wind plant by 20502050, “not only [by producing] more renewable electricity but almost limitless amounts of green hydrogen to help wean Europe off fossil fuel imports”.

The recent North Sea Declaration signed by Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark and Germany has bhe joint ambition of delivering 150GW of offshore wind by 2050 and 30GW of hydrogen production by 2030.

“Scotland and Norway’s offshore EEZs together are more than five times larger than those of Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark and Germany combined and therefore offer an enormous opportunity market for the supply chains involved in the future development of large scale production of green hydrogen from floating wind in the North Sea,” said the pair.