New north-east wind hub hopes to increase jobs and skills

The Beatrice wind farm at Nigg Energy Park.
The Beatrice wind farm at Nigg Energy Park.

A new renewables hub has been announced to establish the north-east’s “deep water offshore wind specialism” and create supply chain jobs.

The North East Wind Cluster will be led by EDP Renewables, developer of two proposed Moray Firth windfarms, and SSE, which is behind the giant Beatrice project.

Dan Finch, managing director of Moray Offshore Renewables, unveiled the plans yesterday during an Aberdeen supply chain event organised by Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the Offshore Wind Industry Council.

He said the hub would facilitate growth in the local economy and opportunities around ports, harbours and fabrication and manufacturing facilities.

Mr Finch also said the plans would look to “create three times the number of jobs in offshore wind today”.

He claimed there would be “new infrastructure opportunities” around coastal areas, with the hub looking to build on work being done at construction facilities at Nigg and Invergordon and operations maintenance bases at Wick, Buckie, Fraserburgh and Aberdeen.

The Moray East and West projects would look to supply power to just under two million homes when completed, while the Beatrice project is one of the largest infrastructure developments in Scottish history.

Mr Finch said: “The industry as it matures will be just the same as the oil and gas industry. As the time goes on they start to improve things and become much more efficient, but we need enough wind farms for people to gain all that skills, expertise and experience.”

“Beatrice is building, Moray is next, then Neart na Goethe (NnG) there’s an auction in six months time. Between the three projects in the Moray Firth we can save money and be competitive. We’ve got some really high winds in Scotland, but we have a downside in that it’s really expensive building windfarms in the north, so we’ve got to be really competitive, we’ve got to work together and be smarter.”