ETZ Ltd, the not-for-profit company tasked with spearheading North East Scotland’s energy transition ambition, has launched the first round of its new fund which is part of the overall energy transition supply chain pathway and challenge fund programme aimed at supporting high-growth potential companies servicing the oil and gas market take advantage of new or existing opportunities in green energy.

Specifically targeting companies located in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray, ETZ Ltd’s Energy Transition Supply Chain Pathway and Challenge Fund, backed by the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund, will support development of company plans to enter new energy markets, identify capital requirements, and deliver capital investment grants to assist the energy supply chain in realising low carbon sector opportunities.

Grant funding of between £50k and £250k from an overall tranche of over £2million will be awarded to accelerate innovation and market entry, support business growth and create new jobs in the energy transition into the low-carbon market. The first tranche was announced following a successful initial pilot of the programme which saw the allocation of c£1m to support 11 companies.

Freda Miller, Energy Supply Chain Programme Manager, ETZ Ltd, said: “Following on from the success of our pilot fund, which awarded just under £1million to 11 companies across the North East, ETZ Ltd is delighted to launch this first round of the programme which will deliver capital investment grants to help the energy supply chain realise new low-carbon sector opportunities.

“This fund will ultimately accelerate the development of new industry-related facilities, new equipment and existing infrastructure upgrades, including digital infrastructure, to drive innovation and market entry and therefore support company growth and creates sustainable jobs. I urge businesses which meet the criteria to apply and take their next step as the North East looks to achieve an accelerated and successful energy transition.”

Mairi McAllan, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition, said: “I am very pleased to see this funding being deployed on what is an exciting range of low-carbon projects.

“The Scottish Government is determined to support Aberdeen, the North East and Moray to become the net zero capital of the world and has announced a ten year £500m Just Transition Fund to establish the region as a world-leader in the transition to a net zero economy. We have already committed £75 million to a programme of transformative projects, including almost £10m for the ETZ’s Supply Chain Pathway and Energy Transition Challenge Fund for indigenous supply chain companies.

“I look forward to seeing how these innovative and ambitious projects develop to create and sustain cleaner energy production and jobs, supporting a fair and just transition for the region and for the people of Scotland.

Beneficiaries of the pilot programme, which was launched in December last year, have spoken about the motivation behind applying to the Challenge Fund.

Gareth McIntyre, Director of engineering services provider GDi, said: “The ETZ Challenge Fund has enabled the diversification of the GDi business into the utilities sector. Post successful application, we were able to rapidly deliver our bespoke project requirements. This process has enabled us to transform our business and we will use this platform to accelerate our cross-industry growth strategy.”

Richard McGowan, Managing Director of engineering solutions provider Fathom Group Ltd, said: The ETZ Challenge Fund has been a game-changer for Fathom, allowing us the opportunity to accelerate completion of new web-based software, in readiness to support our clients in the offshore industries. Without the support of ETZ, Fathom’s digital products would be much later to market, missing vital opportunities to support our clients, both locally in the North-East and nationally, as they make their transition from more traditional Oil & Gas offerings to the fast-moving offshore renewables market. By developing this software offering, we can expand our client base, allowing growth of our team of specialist engineers whilst further creating opportunities for expansion of our software team. We thank the team at ETZ, not only for the unrivalled level of support during the application process and the project, but also for their unwavering support of the offshore supply chain based in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray, which is making a genuine difference to local businesses like ours.”

Graeme MacDougall, Managing Director of engineering consultants Sealand Projects Ltd, said: “Sealand are developing SEASITE to offer remote condition monitoring and fatigue assessment of Floating Wind Mooring systems. SEASITE software allows the user to view sensor telemetry, in a 3-D model, with the annual motions tracked and analysed to identify any load in-balance, unusual or exceptional operating conditions and cumulated fatigue assessment in mooring system components. Securing grant funding from ETZ has allowed Sealand to accelerate the development of our software, allowing us to realise an opportunity to move to an offshore field simulation trial in Q3 2023, which will support our route to commercialisation in 2024.”

The first round of the ETZ Ltd Challenge Fund closes on 5 June 2023.

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