Bosses at Forth Ports have claimed a “game-changing” £40million investment in the Port of Leith will not equate to competition with the rest of Scotland for offshore wind work.
Further details of plans to make Leith a renewable energy hub, with investment from BP, EnBW and Forth Ports, were unveiled last week, including a floating wind-enabled berth with more than 50 acres of laydown space, 35 acres of quayside linked space dedicated to building green manufacturing bases and local content.
Senior port manager David Webster said the extra investment will complement other regions across Scotland like Aberdeen and Nigg as they collectively aim for work linked to the ScotWind leasing round.
“We’re very keen on collaboration and I think the Scotland plc piece is really important to us”, he said.
“There’s so much work and activity coming on stream in the next decade that there is more than enough space for a number of different facilities in Scotland.”
Pointing to recent offshore wind contract wins for the port of Dundee, he continued: “You can see up and down the coast, everybody’s going to have a part to play in this.”
The Leith plans include space for component manufacturing, incubator space to accommodate the supply chain and large marshalling and logistics areas for construction.
He said: “If you tie that into the deepwater of the Firth of Forth, the free port and green port process, the Firth net zero energy transition zone all the way up to Grangemouth and north to Fife, what we’re bringing to the market is the biggest renewables site in Scotland, right in the central belt of Scotland,” he said.
“It’s going to be completely game-changing.”
It comes as a whole host of regions across the North, such as Aberdeen, Nigg, Kishorn and Ardersier, as well as others such as Methil in Fife, are positioning themselves for work as the country awaits awards for the ScotWind round in January.
The plans chime with development of Aberdeen’s offshore wind capabilities, particularly in light of the South Harbour expansion and the establishment of an Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) in the adjacent area.
Chaired by industry magnate Sir Ian Wood, realising the ETZ’s ambition would see the creation of 2,500 jobs, a further 10,000 ‘energy transition-related jobs’ across the region and create £400 million of added value.
BP, as part of its joint ScotWind bid with EnBW, intends to create a wind centre of excellence in the city, as well as a remote operating centre for its offshore wind operations.
Speaking to Energy Voice at the Port of Leith, the company’s senior vice president of zero carbon energy, Felipe Arbelaez described Leith’s “really competitive logistical setup,” adding: “From my perspective, I think they are quite complementary.”
Mr Arbelaez noted BP’s recent partnership to develop the Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub programme, and the creation of Scotland’s first scalable facility capable of producing green hydrogen, as another area of integration with wider energy transition activity.
“I don’t think we should disregard the fact that there is a very substantial impact of supply chain capability and human resource,” in Aberdeen, he continued. “From our perspective we think over time that will transition into supporting things like offshore wind and that plays an important role.”
Aberdeen was last week awarded £15 million as part of a £100m Scottish Government package to advance the hydrogen economy.
Meanwhile construction will begin at Leith in 2022, with the first phase of the logistics site operational in 2023. Development of the supply chain hub would then follow, ready to meet the demands of the burgeoning offshore wind sector from around 2024 onwards.