Falck Renewables, BlueFloat Energy and Ørsted have thrown their weight behind the bid to win Scottish green freeport status for the Cromarty Firth.
The three companies, which secured seabed leases in the recent ScotWind round, have become members of Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF), the partnership of private, public and academic sector bodies committed to ensuring the Highlands is home to one of Scotland’s two future green freeports.
The three now also team with Inverness Chamber of Commerce which became part of the OCF consortium just last week.
The three companies note awarding green freeport status to the Cromarty Firth is aligned with their ambitions of investing billions of pounds in developing floating offshore wind projects off the Scottish coast and boosting investment in the local supply chain.
Falck Renewables, BlueFloat Energy and Ørsted UK believe Scotland can transition its oil and gas expertise into the floating offshore wind sector. That expertise already exists in the north of Scotland in fabrication and manufacturing facilities as well as its technological capabilities.
“When we applied for the right to develop floating offshore wind projects in Scotland we identified opportunities for manufacturing, fabrication and other supply chain companies in Scotland,” said a spokesperson for the three renewable energy companies.
“The Cromarty Firth region has always been and continues to be a thriving manufacturing hub.
“Now with floating offshore wind and in particular the concentration of projects off the north east coast, Cromarty Firth offers the space to store and assemble components necessary to deploy these projects at scale.
Green freeport status will support jobs
“Both the Scottish and the UK Governments have committed to ensuring Scottish and UK companies and workers benefit from the huge boom in offshore wind in the coming years.
“Green freeport status is designed to ensure manufacturing companies are supported to set up in the region to provide jobs that would otherwise go elsewhere, probably outside the UK.”
The OCF consortium was launched two years ago with the aim of creating a free trade zone – centred on the Cromarty Firth – to help secure energy projects, as well as support and create jobs in the Highlands benefiting from tax relief and other incentives.
The ambitious bid is backed by PoCF, Port of Nigg owner GEG , the Port of Inverness and more than a dozen regional businesses, along with public sector organisations and academic bodies.
“Through a Highlands green freeport, we have the opportunity and the expertise to lead the world on renewables,” added Port of Cromarty Firth chief executive Bob Buskie.
“The clean energy sector’s importance to the Cromarty Firth, the Highlands, Scotland and beyond cannot be underestimated. These developments would help fulfil Scotland’s net zero carbon ambitions and bring skilled jobs and high-wage opportunities to the Highlands on a level not seen since the oil boom of the 1970s.
“Many of OCF’s members, including the Port of Cromarty Firth and Global Energy, already have a substantial track record in renewables and supported more offshore wind projects than any other Scottish location. But such is the size and scope of this operation that we cannot act alone.
“To fully capitalise on this breadth of ambition, we need to collaborate, pool our resources and ensure through green freeport status the infrastructure and technologies are created in Scotland to meet this overwhelming demand to decarbonise.”