Port of Nigg could be in line to receive government funding to allow it to manufacture turbines for what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, according to a news report.
Discussions are currently taking place between Westminster and Holyrood over financial support for Global Energy Group (GEG), which owns the facility in the Cromarty Firth, The Times said.
According to the newspaper, the funding would allow the Inverness-based firm to produce “some of the largest wind turbines ever made”, which would then be used in SSE and Equinor’s Dogger Bank wind farm.
Last year, GEG said it was aiming to develop a £100 million offshore wind fabrication facility at its Highlands base – the plant could support as many as 300 local jobs.
The Times said it has spoken to “industry sources” who are hopeful that the Inverness-based firm’s factory could be given the go-ahead “within weeks”, but warned there is still potential for the deal to fall through.
Bob Buskie, CEO of the Port of Cromarty Firth, recently said that the creation of so-called “greenports” would allow Scotland to compete on an even keel with England for offshore wind manufacturing work.
His comments came after the UK Government announced £95 million to upgrade the offshore wind facilites at Teesside and Humber.
As many as 6,000 jobs could be created across the two sites as a result of the funding, with 750 of those coming from the creation of a new wind blade factory by General Electric (GE) at Teesside.
GE’s decision to build the facility in the north-east of England came after both sites were dubbed “freeports” during the Chancellor’s latest budget – the UK Government cited this as the reason for the win.
It’s hoped the move could signal the start of Wetminster’s promised “green industrial revolution”, which has yet to materialise.
Despite having the world’s biggest offshore wind market, just 29% of capex on recent projects has been in the UK, The Times said.
Dogger Bank, which is being jointly developed by SSE and Norwegian energy giant Equinor, will have a total installed capacity of 3.6 megawatts (MW).
Due to its size, it’s being developed in three consecutive 1.2 GW phases; Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B and Dogger Bank C.
A final investment decision has already been taken on the first two parts of the project – turbine installation for the initial stage is due to get underway in 2023.
GEG previously described its Port of Nigg facility as the “best positioned” in the UK to capitalise on the upcoming offshore wind boom.
A Scottish Government Spokesperson said: “We continue to be involved in discussions to fabricate offshore towers for the Dogger Bank wind farm at Nigg, a contract which would support skilled green jobs and develop our green recovery.
“For reasons of commercial sensitivity it would not be appropriate to comment further.”
Global Energy Group and the UK Government have been contacted for comment.