With over 80% of the Scottish coastline and an abundance of exceptional wind, wave and tidal resources around our region, it’s no surprise that we (Highlands and Islands Enterprise) have a clear focus on offshore renewable energy as a driver for economic growth.

Securing opportunities from renewable energy has long been a priority for us. For example, we helped establish the world’s first grid-connected wave and tidal test centre, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), in Orkney a little over 20 years ago.

In 2014, with funding from the Scottish Government, we set up Wave Energy Scotland (WES), now responsible for the largest research and development programme ever seen in the sector.

And in 2020, in partnership with Orkney Islands Council, we founded the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus, strengthening Scotland’s global lead in renewables research.

Throughout all these years, we have maintained our commitment to supporting local businesses and communities throughout the region, investing in a broad range of initiatives including manufacturing innovation, supply chain growth and major infrastructure improvements in ports and harbours.

Our investment capitalises on our region’s enviable natural resources and supports developments around deepwater ports, laydown areas, a highly experienced supply chain and research into new technologies such as green hydrogen.

The recent award of Green Freeport status to the Inverness and Cromarty Firth area is the latest, highly significant event in an ongoing story of progress across the Highlands and Islands.

Already an international exemplar in renewable energy, our region punches well above its weight in this sector, but the job is not done, work does not stand still, and neither do we.

Our new five-year strategy, published in August, states boldly that new, large-scale offshore developments stemming from the ScotWind and INTOG initiatives present the Highlands and Islands with a set of economic opportunities that only appear once in a generation. 

It's an exciting time for the energy sector and it's supply chain in the Highlands and Islands. Our focus will remain firmly on ensuring that our region, our businesses and our communities capitalise on the vast opportunities presented by renewable energy developments. 

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