Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said yesterday he would help support the regeneration of a former oil yard at Ardersier as a green energy hub.
It was revealed earlier this week that international renewable energy firms had expressed interest in the 816-acre site at Whiteness and a study on deepening the approach channel had been launched.
The MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey said it would be “fantastic” if any development at the site could complement the revamped former oil yard at Nigg to provide jobs for the Highlands.
He said: “I’ve known about this for a while and it would be fantastic for the Highlands if Ardersier was to have a future as a renewables location.
“It has a huge number of advantages – the transport links, the skills of the local population and the amount of space at the yard – all things that make it very attractive to the renewables industry.
“I will be doing all I can as a local MP to support any move in that direction.
“When the oil industry was at its height, both Nigg and Ardersier were major sources of employment and it would be fantastic for the Highlands if we would have that again.”
The Ardersier yard was closed by owner J Ray McDermott in 2002 after almost 30 years in operation. The site had employed 3,000 workers at the height of the oil boom.
It was bought by local consortium Whiteness Property Co for £7million.
The consortium won outline planning permission for 1,950 houses and a 500-berth marina in 2006 but has also promoted its potential as a base for building green energy devices.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing revealed Mitsubishi Power Systems, EDPR, Subsea 7 and Siemens had all shown interest in the site.
He added that a number of studies involving HIE were taking place on the deepening of the approach channel to about 30ft. Mr Alexander was in Inverness with Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie MSP to meet a local Lib Dem candidate in the council election and canvass voters.