As the downturn continues to wreak havoc on oil and gas companies’ finances worldwide, a couple of industry associations in the U.K. are encouraging companies to diversify by plunging into the renewables sector.

Subsea UK, which aims to increase business opportunities in the U.K. and elsewhere for its more than 300-member companies, will explore potential ways subsea-focused companies can enter the sector—particularly offshore wind—during an event set for Aug. 2 in Aberdeen. The renewables sector can benefit from the expertise of subsea companies in a variety of areas, including project management and installation support to maintenance and inspection services—to name of few highlighted by Scottish Enterprise, which recently released a guide for companies pondering business in the offshore wind sector.

“Providing a platform for the industry to come together and collaborate is essential in order to drive the prolonged life of developments both in the U.K. and further afield,” Subsea UK Chief Executive Neil Gordon said in a news release. “If we can help companies to access the offshore wind market ahead of the predicted £210billion [US$277 billion] global deployment boom, exporting their wealth of skills, innovation and experience, the rewards will be huge.”

While fossil fuels are expected to continue dominating the global energy supply mix, renewable energy’s piece of the pie is getting bigger. And it’s getting bigger faster than any other energy source, according the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO) revealed that renewables is the world’s fastest-growing energy source, expected to rise by 2.6% annually through 2040. In addition, the outlook showed that wind and hydropower are expected to become the biggest contributors to the rise in world electricity generation from renewable energy sources, “together accounting for two-thirds of the total increase from 2012 to 2040.” In the IEO’s reference case, hydropower and wind generation combined increase by about 1.9 trillion kilowatt hours.

The total net renewable electricity generation by wind is forecast to increase from 520 billion kilowatt hours globally in 2012 to 2,452 billion kilowatt hours by 2020, according to the outlook.

Some subsea companies have already jumped into action.

Subsea 7, for example, was awarded a contract by Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd. for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) of the Beatrice wind farm turbine foundations and array cables offshore Scotland. The contract, which was announced in May, was valued at more than US$1 billion.

Subsea 7 said it will manage, design, engineer, fabricate and install EPCI jacket foundations and array cables for 84 wind turbines, working with Seaway Heavy Lifting, a company in which it is a 50% shareholder. The work scope also entails transporting and installing the offshore transmission modules, Subsea 7 said.

“Scotland and the rest of the U.K., together with Germany and Denmark are currently at the forefront of offshore wind development, accounting for around 90% of global offshore wind deployment to date,” added Seonaid Vass, director of renewable energy and low carbon technologies at Scottish Enterprise. “These countries along with the Netherlands and Belgium are forecast to build approximately 25GW of offshore wind by the end of the decade, worth an estimated £60 billion in capital and operational expenditure over the next five years.”

It’ll be interesting to see how big of a splash subsea companies make in the offshore wind sector, and whether this could be the beginnings of another transformation for the energy sector.

Velda Addison can be reached at