Celebrating 10 Years
Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group is celebrating its 10th
anniversary. A major milestone for Aberdeen City Council,
which had the vision to establish this pioneering organisation
at the end of 2003 to build on the region’s already impressive
renewables credentials. Here we highlight more than a decade
of achievements which have resulted in the region becoming a
world leading force in the sustainable energy revolution.
Building A Sustainable Energy Industry
Renewable energy technologies have developed
apace in the last 10 years and represent an immense
opportunity for Scotland both at home and overseas.
Aberdeen City Council has been active in renewables for more than 15
years after recognising how this exciting new growth industry would add
to the region’s existing energy credentials and be a key contributor to
building a 21st Century sustainable energy industry.
We focus on three key areas: adopting renewables into the Council’s
property portfolio; supply chain development; and supporting enabling
Across our Council premises we are carrying out a review as to how to
achieve greater energy efficiency whilst incorporating renewables into
new builds. Through one of our arm’s length organisations, Aberdeen
Heat and Power, we are developing a heat network across the city centre
to enable it to use renewable energy in the future.
For supply chain development, we set up Aberdeen Renewable Energy
Group (AREG) to support and assist companies enter the renewables
Two examples of enabling projects are the European Offshore Wind
Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in which AREG is a joint venture partner and
the Council’s own hydrogen projects (H2), both of which are intended to
significantly reduce costs and accelerate the implementation of specific
It is exciting to stand at the dawn of new industries that can be
transformational in reducing carbon emissions, increasing energy
security and creating new employment. However, we must not
underestimate the challenges. The same barriers to development exist as
they did 10 years ago, and must be addressed and overcome.
As a local authority, we are considering how we can support the
development of renewable energy through contributing to the policy
framework and deriving maximum local benefit for our people, our
businesses and academic institutions as well as working with industry to
deliver these benefits.
AREG is a powerful grouping of internationally competitive, sophisticated
energy skills across all the disciplines required for energy project
development. The organisation is therefore a key component in our
strategy to continue developing a sustainable energy future for our city
and generations to come.
Councillor Jenny Laing,
Leader of Aberdeen City Council
“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. As AREG enters its next decade of
operations, Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with the team
as we look to increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.”
Maggie McGinlay, Director of Energy, Scottish Enterprise
With Change Comes Progress
There is clear evidence that Scotland is now a global
leader in renewables. A recent milestone over the last
year shows we have consumed 19,000 GWh in renewable
electricity output - more than 46% of the country’s total
electricity consumption and exceeding the Scottish
Government’s 2011 target of 31%. This illustrates
Scotland’s strong renewable energy vision, which
is shared by Scottish Renewables. A 100% target by
2020 sets out many challenges for developing industry
frameworks to deliver this policy goal, especially around
planning and Grid.
From the outset of renewable energy more than two decades ago,
Aberdeen has been a key to the development of the industry and will
continue to perform a crucial role through its track record in engineering
know how and problem solving as well as its highly skilled workforce.
Aberdeen City Council, from the very beginning, has been supportive
and constructive in its commitment to drive forward renewables. The
vision of the Council and AREG, which the Council established as an
independent organisation, has been focused on getting projects with a
commercial future off the ground and creating networks for knowledge
sharing. Together, they had the foresight to get involved with AMEC
and now Vattenfall Wind Power to develop the European Offshore Wind
Deployment Centre – a project developed with strategic thinking including
consideration of the Grid. This inherent local energy strength and
diversified approach underlines the importance of Aberdeen’s position in
the energy mix of the future.
At a time of uncertainty in the industry across the UK it is vital to
remember that with a ‘can-do’ mind set, we can overcome any hardship.
While I’m not one to look back, one of the privileges of reflecting on the
past is that every time there has been a change in the industry, there
has been a bit of a stutter. This is because people need to get used to
the change, such as banks having to adapt to new regulations. There will
probably be a stutter with Electricity Market Reform and The Grid but as
time has shown, with change comes progress and I am confident that will
be the case now.
Energy is a global market but what we want is innovation in the UK.
At Natural Power, for example, we are exporting our services across
the world to France, the US, Turkey, Ireland and Chile. If we can keep
our intellectual talent here in the UK we will continue to reap the huge
benefits and rewards of a growing renewable energy industry.
Jeremy Sainsbury FRICS OBE
Director of Natural Power. Director
and Grid group chairman at
AREG: From Vision to Reality
When AREG was first conceived by Aberdeen City Council its vision was
to diversify the region’s existing energy skills into new technologies and
make Aberdeen as world famous for renewables as it is for oil and gas.
AREG was incorporated as a company at the end of 2003, when
renewables were barely on the national energy agenda and is now one of
the longest established renewable energy organisations in the UK. Over
the past ten years the company has turned Aberdeen City Council’s vision
into reality with the region now recognised as a vital driver for developing
not just Aberdeen and Scotland’s renewables sector but also assisting
UK and European ambitions.
In building a sustainable energy sector, actively promoting Aberdeen City
and Shire’s world-class capabilities, retaining local energy skills and
helping to create new job opportunities through industry expansion, AREG
is working hard to provide a lasting legacy for future generations. The
company is unique in that it helps facilitate regional economic development
activity and projects as well as delivering services to its members.
With a decade of activity under its belt, the region has built considerable
momentum across the whole renewable energy spectrum, in areas
as diverse as hydrogen fuel cell transport and biomass, however a
particularly crucial and successful focus has been to transfer its strong,
existing offshore oil and gas expertise into offshore renewables. The
region is now globally recognised as a major centre of excellence and
the largest Scottish employer for offshore wind plus third in employment
rankings for the wave and tidal industry.
Through its open membership network the organisation acts as a
centralised hub of key business, research, technology and industry
wide contacts. Members are now located not just in Aberdeen but also
nationally and internationally and span every sector of renewable energy
including a strong cast of oil and gas majors, technology developers,
service, engineering, training and accreditation companies, four local
authorities, development agencies and trade associations.
By joining AREG, members can access an unrivalled international
network and benefit from services spanning Meet the Buyer events,
industry talks and presentations and networking opportunities including
an International Trade Reception at the annual All-Energy exhibition.
AREG is proud of what it has and continues to achieve and looks forward
to building an unrivalled, industry focused membership, ensuring the
region and its people benefit from being at the cutting edge of future
energy industry developments and performing a strategic role in
Scottish and UK energy ambitions.
“DECC, who have maintained a small renewables presence in our Aberdeen office, have enjoyed a
productive relationship with AREG during their first 10 years of existence. AREG have organised a number
of very interesting and informative events that we have attended – and at which we are often challenged
– constructively and intelligently. AREG have been a real focal point for the renewables community in
Aberdeen City and Shire and has been instrumental in bringing the opportunities to the companies within
the region. They have been extremely helpful when we have been asked, often at short notice, to host
Ministerial meeting and events. Here’s to a successful next 10 years.”
Ian Furneaux, Offshore Wind Analyst, Office for Renewable Energy Deployment, DECC Aberdeen
A Decade of Achievement
Award winning AREG has marked a number of significant achievements over the
last decade. It has been at the forefront of helping to develop renewable energy
projects of key economic value, creating an estimated leverage of more than £48
million in local economic activity.
One major pioneering project driven forward by AREG is the
European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), a joint
venture with Vattenfall, plus consortium partner Technip
Offshore Wind. The project, which was granted consent by the
Scottish Government in March 2013, is intended to significantly
reduce the cost of offshore wind development and accelerate
deployment . It will also deliver renewable energy to the
National Grid and bring an estimated £230 million worth of
investment to Scottish renewables infrastructure.
AREG was not only instrumental in helping the EOWDC reach consent but was behind the original concept
securing industry partners and funding including an European Union (EU) grant of up to €40million. As part of
the EOWDC project AREG is included in Scottish Enterprise’s Virtual Energy Laboratory.
AREG is also a partner in the £25 million pound strategic H2 Aberdeen
initiative which is being supported by Aberdeen City Council. The
expectation is that this initiative will stimulate further innovative
hydrogen technology projects and high level investment in the area,
realising Aberdeen’s aspiration of becoming a world leading energy
and hydrogen city.
The region’s successful biomass infrastructure is another area
where AREG has played a key role. Projects in Aberdeen City and
Shire have a current capital value of £25.5million and local wood fuel production is worth £8.7 million to the local
economy. Biomass is a key resource as an economic driver and the potential for local employment is considerable.
On a smaller but equally important scale has been AREG’s work with local fuel poverty action group SCARF
to establish a project designed to encourage householders to install renewable technologies. This project
was used as a best practice for the Scottish Government’s Scottish Community and Householder Renewables
Alongside these projects, AREG has been instrumental in assisting
in the development of the now internationally recognised annual
All-Energy conference, which in 2013 attracted over 600 exhibiting
companies, 7,650 visitors from 48 countries and generated £4
million for the local economy.
Working in partnership with the University of Aberdeen and Robert
Gordon University, AREG also assisted in establishing a joint
academic chair in energy research with funding of £1.2 million.
These projects have been complemented by a series of popular
members events delivered in collaboration with partners such as
Scottish Renewables, Scottish Enterprise and SCDI. Particularly
successful of these have been AREG’s Meet the Buyer events in which the supply chain is able to engage directly
with large project developers and key renewables organisations.
External recognition of AREG’s work has also been widespread, winning the Renewable Energy Association’s
British Renewable Energy Region award in 2012 and becoming an Enterprising Britain finalist in 2007. The
former AREG chairman was also honoured by Scottish Renewables for ‘Outstanding Personal Contribution’ at
the 2012 Green Energy Awards.
In order to safeguard the long term prosperity of our energy based economy and sustainable energy supplies for
generations to come, AREG will continue to work on building the momentum already achieved by capitalising on
new opportunities and ensuring the region’s global status as an internationally competitive economic power house.
Looking To The Future
I am proud of what AREG and our members have
achieved over the last ten years, particularly as we
work in a constantly evolving marketplace. We always
think first and foremost of our membership – their
views, requirements, challenges and opportunities
- and work hard to provide them with opportunities
and support, therefore as the renewable energy
landscape evolves, AREG is evolving with it.
We are streamlining our business to provide even more efficient and
effective services to support our members better and provide additional
positive economic impact. Moving forward AREG will work even more
closely with Aberdeen City Council. We will pool resources in our drive
to build the city’s status as a global energy capital, accelerate the growth
of the local renewables supply chain and deliver new renewable energy
AREG will retain its shareholding in the European Offshore Wind
Deployment Centre (EOWDC) project, however our involvement will be
managed by the Council’s economic development department so that in
2014 AREG can concentrate its efforts on creating and delivering new
initiatives to stimulate fresh business opportunities for its members.
In response to demand we are opening up membership of AREG to
companies and organisations from across the UK and around the globe,
and have already welcomed our first national members. This will expand
our networks, foster partnerships and create new access to domestic and
We shall continue to work in the interests of our members by promoting
them at every opportunity as well as lobbying influential industry
bodies and decision makers, providing networking opportunities and
profiling the capabilities of our region. We will work in partnership with
Aberdeen City Council to develop new supply chain initiatives, assist in the
development of key partnerships and relationships, disseminate market
intelligence, match suppliers with buyers and make further in-roads into
key international markets.
A new and broader advisory Board with a strong industrial representation
will be set up to provide additional support for the development of AREG’s
services and will advise on the development of local renewables projects
in the region.
Looking back over a decade of change I see that much can be achieved
by a concerted effort from committed individuals and organisations.
We must continue that effort into the future to win a significant
environmental and industrial prize for Scotland and the UK.
Chief Operating Officer
“Vattenfall, and AMEC
Wind Energy the company
it acquired in 2008, has
worked closely with AREG
through the development
of the European Offshore
Wind Deployment Centre.
That wind project has a long
and colourful history and
through our collaboration we
feel we have forged a strong
relationship. 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.
As a centenarian, Vattenfall
congratulates AREG on
reaching its tenth birthday!”
Head of Public & Regulatory
“Becoming a member of AREG complemented the
Council’s membership with Energy North and is
consistent with the efforts of Orkney Renewable
Energy Forum. It has opened up exciting new
opportunities for both Orkney and AREG to build
on their network of contacts and to collaborate
for mutual advantage.”
Jan Falconer, Head of Strategic Development
and Regeneration at Orkney Island Council
“The Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked
closely with AREG since its formation a decade ago.
The organisation has been essential for Aberdeen
city and shire to grow from the oil and gas
capital of Europe to the energy capital of Europe.
Hydrocarbons will be essential to drive both
Aberdeen’s and the world’s economy for years
to come, but renewables generation and efficient
mitigation will play an increasingly important role in
providing cost-effective power.”
Robert Collier, Chief Executive, Aberdeen and
Grampian Chamber of Commerce
“AREG has always been ahead of the curve, ensuring that
Aberdeen and Scotland are looking to the future of the energy
sector, not just the here and now. With almost half of Scotland’s
electricity now coming from renewables, and the sector
responsible for thousands of jobs across the country, we
are well down the road to the transition that AREG
was set up to support. However, there are still lots of
opportunities for companies to get into the renewables
supply chain, where the organisation plays such a
key role in making connections for businesses in
Aberdeen. We look forward to working together on
the transformation of our energy sector over the
next ten years!”
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive,
“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 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 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
Judith Patten, Project
Director, All Energy
Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group
Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure
Aberdeen City Council
Business Hub 4, Marischal College
Aberdeen, AB10 1AB
T: +44 (0)1224 523630
AREG endeavours to work towards economic and environmental
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manufacturer certified as ISO14001. The waste paper used has been
processed back into fibre in a totally chlorine free process.