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ORE Catapult launches new programme for companies in Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney to break into offshore renewable energy

ORE Catapult engineer at work

Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

4 min read Partner content

Businesses across Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney aiming to enter the rapidly expanding offshore renewable energy sector can apply to a regional Fit For Offshore Renewables (F4OR) programme for the first time today (Tuesday).

The industry leading F4OR supply chain growth programme will be delivered by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, and supported by £125,000 from offshore wind developer, the West of Orkney Windfarm.

F4OR Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney will provide up to seven companies with the opportunity to take part in the rigorous 12-18 month development programme, designed alongside offshore wind industry experts, and focused on improving business readiness for the offshore renewable energy market.

Davood Sabaei, F4OR Programme Manager at ORE Catapult, said: “We are excited to be launching our first ever F4OR programme in Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney, and we look forward to working alongside local companies on their journey towards success in offshore renewables. It is also fantastic to have endorsement and support from offshore wind developer, the West of Orkney Windfarm, as part of this programme.

“F4OR Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney will build on the success of five F4OR regional programmes delivered by ORE Catapult in the North East of Scotland, North East of England, East Anglia and Suffolk, alongside national programmes run across Scotland and UK-wide, with over 100 companies supported. Participating companies experience an average 28% increase in turnover, and many have gone on to secure a wide range of new contracts.”

Last year, the ScotWind leasing auction created a multi-million pound opportunity for offshore renewable energy projects around the Scottish coastline.

Stephen Kerr, Project Director, West of Orkney Windfarm.
Stephen Kerr, Project Director, West of Orkney Windfarm

Stephen Kerr, West of Orkney Windfarm Project Director, said: “We’ve been engaging with businesses and organisations in Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney for a number of years, and although construction of ScotWind projects will not ramp up until the latter half of this decade, early engagement with the local supply chain is critical. Participation in this F4OR programme will equip forward-looking firms with the attributes they need to compete successfully for future contracts.

“The West of Orkney Windfarm has already committed to a £105 million investment initiative that will be enhanced to £140 million by third parties to support the offshore wind supply chain locally, in Scotland and across the UK ahead of a Final Investment Decision in 2026.”

JGC Engineering and Technical Services, based in Caithness, previously took part in a F4OR pilot programme.

Stephen Sutherland, Director of JGC, said: “JGC already had a presence in the offshore renewables market with some key industry leaders. However, as we were transitioning from existing markets into this new marketplace, we wanted to demonstrate to prospective clients we had the standards in place required to supply within these new and upcoming markets.

“For JGC, the programme did help us focus on areas we had not focused previously, which has also helped. What F4OR does is give your business a standard that you can market against within the renewables sector, giving prospective clients confidence in the standards you work to within your business.”

Applications are encouraged from established companies, with products or skills that are relevant to the offshore wind sector. To find out more information, go to F4OR - ORE (catapult.org.uk) and to apply, fill out an expression of interest form here

Companies have until Tuesday 31 October to express their interest in taking part in F4OR Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney. The programme will start in December 2023.

  • The West of Orkney Windfarm and ORE Catapult will attend a multi-developer supply chain event at the Robert Rendall Building, Franklin Road, Stromness, Orkney from 9am on Tuesday, September 12, hosted by Orkney Islands Council.
  • On Thursday, September 14, West of Orkney Windfarm will also host a supply chain event at the Pentland Hotel in Thurso, in partnership with Caithness Chamber of Commerce where local businesses can meet members the project team.

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