Digital innovation is crucial for the global transition to cleaner energy

By Nassima Brown, director of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) and director of Fennex

Reaching net zero is one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime and with ambitious targets set for Scotland to reach net zero emissions for all greenhouse gases by 2045, technological innovation is a crucial part of the puzzle.

Advancements in technology are essential for renewable energy generation, storage, CCUS, smart grid management, electric vehicles, energy efficiency, energy integration, and the operations and maintenance of renewable structures. Digitalisation can improve the safety, productivity, accessibility, and sustainability of our energy systems globally.

And, here in Scotland, we have a distinct advantage. With our 50-plus-year legacy of pioneering innovations for the oil and gas sector, we have an opportunity to become a world leader in transition. To do this we must look towards the technologies, knowledge, and expertise that already exist, and consider how we can adapt what we already know, to make it suitable for renewable sources of power.

Many technologies have been developed for oil and gas, which can be adapted for renewables, and we quite simply do not have time to reinvent the wheel.

Wind, for example, is one of the most rapidly growing renewable sources of power globally and is abundant in Scotland. A Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) report predicts that around 680 gigawatts of new onshore and offshore wind will be installed by 2027 and it has been estimated that the offshore wind workforce alone will need to more than triple from 32,000 to 100,000 by 2030. Technological innovation is a crucial component in ensuring this predicted growth happens.

Technology is essential for the successful development, operation, and maintenance of wind projects, with offshore wind energy projects facing unique challenges due to their location in marine environments.

As an AREG board member and director of Fennex I see huge opportunities for the supply chain in this area. In fact, Fennex recently announced it will invest £1.2 million to accelerate its own transition into renewables, adapting our existing health and safety technology for the renewables sector, and improving collaboration and safety for offshore wind developers and contractors.

Part of our investment includes a partnership with AREG, via its Supply Chain and Technology Network, to better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by the renewables supply chain, especially when it comes to technology and innovation.

Through our collaboration with AREG and other wind farm developers and contractors, we aim to accelerate progress in renewable energy safety and foster a more innovative supply chain ecosystem.

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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.