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£40million plan unveiled for ‘Scotland’s largest renewable energy hub’ at Leith

A £40million plan to create the “largest and best located” renewable energy hub in Scotland at the Port of Leith has been unveiled.

The proposals, revealed by Forth Ports, have the potential to support up to 1,000 high quality direct jobs, it said, and support a further 2,000 indirectly.

Forth Ports said the proposals for the Leith Renewable Energy Hub include a riverside marine berth, capable of accommodating the world’s largest offshore wind installation vessels and bring an economic boost to Scotland.

It would also have heavy lift capability for up to 100 tonnes per square metre, backed up by 35 acres of adjacent land for logistics.

The Hub will also see 140 acres of cargo handling area upgraded for assembly, supply chain and manufacturing opportunities.

Overall, the amount of space is equivalent to around 100 full size football pitches.

The company said it would make a “major contribution” to Scotland achieving its 2045 net zero ambition and “spearhead” Edinburgh and Scotland’s Covid-19 recovery plan.

Construction will begin once licensing arrangements have been concluded, with Forth Ports targeting Q3 2023 for completion of construction of the outer berth.

Group chief executive of Forth Ports, Charles Hammond, said: “We are committed to playing a significant role in the renewable energy sector and, through that, Scotland’s energy transition to net zero as we also tackle the challenges of Covid-19 recovery and economic regeneration.

Charles Hammond

“This is a pump-priming investment in logistics and marine infrastructure at the Port of Leith as we harness Scotland’s natural resources for future generations and has the potential to play a significant part in our forthcoming Firth of Forth Green Port bid.”

It comes as several Scottish regions are making bids to become “Green Ports”, with the Port of Cromarty Firth recently revealing similar plans to become a major manufacturing hub for offshore wind farms.

Regions are positioning themselves for the upcoming boom in offshore wind as the UK seeks to quadruple its capacity by 2030.

Later this year, awards will be announced for Scotwind, a major leasing round for areas of the seabed to develop wind farms, with companies including BP and Orsted competing for areas.

Michael Matheson, Scottish cabinet secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, , said: “The Scottish Government has set ambitious targets to increase offshore wind capacity to 11 GW of energy installed by 2030 – enough to power more than eight million homes. This commitment, which will support our transition to a net-zero economy by 2045, capitalises on the fact that Scotland’s seas have some of the best offshore wind resources in the world.

“This significant investment from Forth Ports to develop the Port of Leith places them in an ideal position to harness the offshore wind opportunities in the North Sea, creating good green jobs and supporting a just transition to net-zero – not just for the city of Edinburgh but the wider area and beyond.”

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