SSE Renewables’ new partnership paves the way for high-skill renewables jobs

Industry and academia join forces to accelerate net zero through circular onshore wind industry

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  • Global renewables developer SSE Renewables signs MoU with University of Strathclyde and leading remanufacturing company Renewable Parts Ltd
  • SSE Renewables commits to increasing circularity of its 2GW onshore wind fleet and creating end-of-life strategy for onshore wind assets

SSE Renewables, Renewable Parts Limited (RPL) and the University of Strathclyde, the operator of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, have announced a new partnership in support of developing a circular and sustainable wind sector in the UK.

While the majority of minor components in a wind turbine can be reused, remanufactured or refurbished, most replacement parts are still sourced new, increasing the carbon footprint of the industry.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the organisations outlines how they will explore a number of areas together, including:

  • securing a world-leading UK-wind circular economy sector deal
  • supporting SSE’s delivery of its net zero ambitions by increasing the circularity of its 2GW of operational onshore wind assets and
  • developing a strategy to reduce waste from SSE Renewables’ wind farms at the end of their life.

The partnership plans to develop sustainable supply chains through research and innovation with a range of partners, with the aim of establishing Scotland as the advanced research and development centre for wind turbine component remanufacture within the UK.

This will support the reduction of carbon emissions of renewable energy assets, as well as support supply chain resilience and generate new, skilled jobs for the UK.

Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Renewables, said:

“This MoU sends an important message that SSE Renewables is serious about making sure renewable energy is truly sustainable. For SSE Renewables, sustainability is right at the core of our business strategy.

“We’ve recently appointed a new Head of Sustainability to our executive team, and we’re taking action to power sustainable change across our development and operational activities while championing a fair and just transition to net zero.

“Delivering on the ambition of this new partnership with the University of Strathclyde and Renewable Parts to develop sustainable supply chains and a circular economy in the UK wind sector is a significant step forward on our journey to net zero. This partnership will also help create highly skilled, high-quality jobs and value for people across Scotland and the UK too.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said:

“This joint agreement builds on our successful long-standing collaborations with both SSE Renewables and RPL and links our technical expertise to the low carbon energy sector.

“Strathclyde’s role as the leading Research and Skills partner will underpin the growth and development of the sector, de-risking innovation and positioning the University and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland as leading institutions for sustainability in designing, manufacturing and operating wind turbines, as well as in education and skills development across the sector.”

James Barry, Chief Executive of Renewable Parts Ltd, said:

“This agreement marks a highly significant step in cooperation between our organisations, accelerating the deployment of circular economy solutions into operational service.

“Decarbonisation of the supply chain through the application of parts remanufacture presents one of the greatest opportunities to increase sustainability and reduce environmental impact.

“This co-investment in new technology will not only enhance operational performance, but will create many new, high skilled jobs in the renewables sector within the UK economy.”

Other companies and organisations working in this space are encouraged to join the partnership. Interested parties can get in touch by contacting [email protected].

Find out more about SSE Energy Solutions’ 100% renewable electricity from SSE’s own UK wind farms and hydro plants.