Hopes of a jobs boom at a Highland port have been put on hold after the company behind a £250million floating windfarm off Stonehaven announced it is changing its plans for the project.
Construction of concrete bases for the eight-turbine, 50megawatt (MW), Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Limited (KOWL) development had been due to start at Kishorn, in Wester Ross, this summer, but stalled after its Spanish backer said it had “encountered difficulties with an important element of its supply chain.”
Yesterday Kishorn Port Limited (KPL) director Alasdair Ferguson said any work the yard may win for the project is now unlikely to get underway before the end of 2018 after KOWL announced it will install one 2MW machine on a semi-submersible platform next year.
The previously planned turbine array, nine miles offshore, will then be built on semi-submersible platforms and spars in 2019 and 2020, according to the new proposals unveiled at an offshore wind conference in Glasgow by KOWL project director Allan MacAskill.
KOWL, set up by Scotland’s former deputy first minister Lord Nicol Stephen and now majority owned by Spanish company ACS, is expected to file a variation order for the new plans shortly.
Earlier this year it was announced that up to 200 jobs were likely to be created at the former North Sea oil fabrication yard at Kishorn after KOWL and KPL, a joint-venture between Lochaber-based Ferguson Transport and Shipping and quarry firm Leiths (Scotland), signed an exclusivity agreement for the manufacture of the concrete bases.
Mr Ferguson said: “We will be looking to bid for the business when it comes round and are also continuing to pursue other opportunities.”
He added was “very disappointing the way it has unfolded” with the KOWL project.
In a statement KOWL said: “Despite the difficulties encountered we are fully committed to the project and remain confident that the project will generate renewable energy to the electricity grid by September 2018.”