christopher.rae, 5th December 2012
North-east port chiefs are looking at how they can meet the needs of the expanding renewable energy industry.
Peterhead features heavily in the latest draft of the Aberdeen City and Shire strategic development plan.
Stephen Paterson, chief financial officer at Peterhead Port Authority, said: “When we built Smith Quay we were aiming to be able to accommodate the renewables industry, but there will have to be a second phase somewhere down the line to add more space.
“We are trying to pre-empt where the industry is heading in the future so we can be in the possible position to offer it what it needs.
“At the moment everything the offshore wind industry needs we have, from deep water berths to space at the quayside. We aim to be able to offer a support base for the industry on the east coast due to our position between the Moray Firth and the Firth of Forth.
“We also need to ensure that we can meet the need for skills in the sector and have been working with Banff and Buchan College as well as the Robert Gordon University to make that happen.
“Although we do not have the space in Peterhead to build turbines themselves, there is the expertise to manufacture components such as cabling.”
The port will not be overlooking the oil and gas industry.
Mr Paterson said: “Offshore oil and gas is still a key client base – a few years ago all the talk was about decommissioning and now we are looking at another 40 years. It is a case of working with the oil and gas industry as well as renewables as the two are competing for resources – there are only a limited number of vessels available.”
Mr Paterson added that there was a share to be had by other towns, including neighbouring Fraserburgh, if Peterhead succeeded.
He said: “If turbines are placed closer to the shore they will be maintained by small, fast crafts which could be based at Fraserburgh due to its location.
“There is a lot of progress for the whole north-east if the area can pull together and make it work.”