Offshore renewables will lead to demand for commercial divers

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Experts have estimated that more than 2200 commercial divers will be required in order to develop the rapidly expanding offshore windpower sector.

The figures come from a new report by the Underwater Centre at Fort William who looked at the renewable-energy targets set by European governments.


Experts have estimated that more than 2200 commercial divers will be required in order to develop the rapidly expanding offshore windpower sector.

The figures come from a new report by the Underwater Centre at Fort William who looked at the renewable-energy targets set by European governments.

The study by Douglas Westwood found that 1700 divers would be needed to support the installation phases over the next six years and a further 500 divers would be required for operations and maintenance.

The study was based on a potential 3800 wind turbines coming online throughout Europe by 2016.

The Underwater Centre’s general manager, Steve Ham said that the study underlined the crucial role commercial divers will play in the offshore windfarm sector.

Mr Ham said: “This report from Douglas Westwood reinforces our message that there is a danger that demand will outstrip availability of trained subsea personnel which, in turn, could affect the progression of some of the windfarm projects.

“Training our students in a realistic and industry-relevant environment is key to our overall approach as this means, once they complete their course and leave the Underwater Centre, they are able to hit the ground running when they get employment in the renewables sector.”

Subsea UK chief executive Alistair Birnie said: “There is a growing and urgent need for skills right across the energy industry, which this report clearly underlines.

“Attracting new blood into the industry, combined with the energy industry working together to consolidate existing resources, is essential if we are to address the demand for skills now and in the future.”

The Fort William Underwater Centre, located at the head of Loch Linnhe, is the only training centre in the world offering the full range of Health and Safety Executive commercial diving qualifications in air and mixed-gas diver training.

The study comes in the same week as the world’s largest underwater turbine was unveiled at Invergordon.  The AK1000 is due for installation at a dedicated berth at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), located in Orkney, later this summer and can power an estimated 1000 homes.

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