Diversify to thrive – Jean Morrison, Chair of AREG

July 5, 2019

Given Aberdeen’s long-established position as Europe’s leading energy hub and its global reputation for energy project delivery, the energy transition is set to have a major impact on the local supply chain.

A recent report by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce certainly paints a positive picture of the mood amongst Aberdeen-based businesses. It reported that 90% of firms are optimistic about the long-term future of the city. Additionally, a further 52% of respondents claimed their businesses were likely to be involved in UKCS renewables work.

If only 30% of local companies made their interest in green energy concrete, this would represent a further 350 businesses actively looking to further the energy transition.

Our recent members’ event echoed enthusiasm from local companies looking at opportunities to diversify. The business breakfast showcased AREG members who have successfully moved into renewables from oil and gas.

More than 50 people from a range of supply chain and operator companies attended the breakfast which detailed the approaches of marine geophysical-geotechnical specialists PanGeo Subsea and COES Caledonia (UK) Limited, the Chinese state-owned engineering services firm.

PanGeo is now using its technology in the early stages of offshore wind developments to identify geohazards buried beneath the seafloor. Such obstacles can include boulders, cemented layers, shallow gas, abandoned seabed infrastructure and unexploded ordnance up to 30 metres in depth. Initially utilised for the oil and gas industry, the company’s technology has spiked through European and US renewables projects.

After launching in Dundee last year, COES Caledonia is investing significant resources into the renewables sector. With backing from the Ministry of Transport of China, the company has big ambitions. COES Caledonia is in the process of developing a purpose-built wind turbine installation vessel, adding to an already impressive array of offshore vessels.

Many traditional oil and gas companies have realised they have the skill and experience to work in renewables, providing a new revenue stream and long-term stability in a rapidly growing industry.

Our member Sparrows Group, for example, has a long history as a lifting and mechanical handling specialist in the offshore oil and gas industry and has provided support offshore for over 40 years. Its Cable and Pipe Lay Solutions (CPLS) division more than doubled its business in 2018 thanks to an upsurge in activity in the renewables market.

There is no doubt the energy transition is happening as we move towards the more ambitious emissions targets set out by the UK government last month.

As an organisation, AREG is there to open doors for companies new to renewables. It is an exciting future for our supply chain, and we need to make the most of the opportunities available.

Get in touch

AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise