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Powerful Alliance to Drive Down Offshore Cost

20 January 2011

Scottish & Southern Energy has formed an alliance with four other companies in a bid to drive down the cost of offshore wind farms.

The utility giant yesterday announced it had entered into a "memorandum of understanding" with Siemens and its transmission and distribution arm, Atkins and two Scottish firms, Subsea 7 and Burntisland Fabrications, known as BiFab.

Formal commercial arrangements have not yet been agreed, but the companies will collaborate on SSE's offshore wind programme, working together first on one specific project, as yet to be named.

Jim Smith, director of offshore renewables for SSE, said: "This innovative alliance brings together leading players in offshore wind and offshore oil and gas, with vast experience in energy, engineering and construction.

"It should result in the kind of collaborative approach to the big issues that is necessary to make offshore wind the long-term success it can and should be."

The firms are not direct competitors, and each will bring a specific area of expertise to the alliance. The firms will continue working with other clients as well.

SSE is the largest generator of electricity from renewable sources in the UK, and already owns a stake in BiFab, which builds structures known as jackets that off-shore turbines stand on.

John Robertson, managing director of BiFab, said he thought the joint effort could lead to a cost saving of 20 per cent in offshore wind power being achieved.

"It's a very pro-active approach from SSE," he said.

Aberdeen-based Subsea 7 also announced the launch of an offshore renewables division which would lead its part in the joint operation, and help transfer its expertise to the emerging renewables market.