Ministers have received a letter urging them to support a bid to create a green freeport Highlands.
Ministers in London and Edinburgh will decide the location of two Scottish Green Freeports.
If this bid is successful it will create 25,000 jobs and accelerate the decarbonisation of the power industry and the just transition to net-zero, according to Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF).
The OFC bid proposes a floating “super wind hub” assembly and production facility, something it claims sets it apart from the competition.
The Cromarty Firth is the focal point for the rapid development of the UK’s new offshore wind industry, and the bid is backed by 13 of the 17 winners of the ScotWind offshore wind leasing round.
The drive to set up fixed and floating offshore wind farms is also encouraging the development of a new green hydrogen industry, with the Highlands at the heart of large-scale developments and export opportunities.
If successful the Green Freeport status will capitalise on the offshore wind boom and create 25,000 jobs, around 15,000 of which will be in the Highlands during the decade of construction. This is set to contribute £6bn to the economy with an additional £60m a year being generated during the windfarm’s operational lifetime.
Bob Buskie, chief executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth said while speaking on behalf of OCF: “We believe the impact of Green Freeport status would be transformational for the viability of projects the renewables industry needs to deliver and would be pivotal in attracting £2.5bn of new private sector investment.
“The Cromarty Firth is going to be at the very heart of the UK’s energy production map for many decades to come, in the way former coal mining areas were in the past and the north-east of Scotland has been with its key geographical role in the North Sea oil and gas industry. ”
Additionally, Roy MacGregor, chairman of the Global Energy Group said: “The renewables industry is going to make a bigger, longer-term positive impact on the Highland economy than any other sector has, including our half century involvement with oil and gas.
“That industry knows this area can deliver the location, the facilities, the experience and ambition it needs. Green Freeport status, which will attract new investment and help nurture innovation, offers the key to ensuring this massive opportunity can be taken to its optimum level, for the benefit of the Highlands, Scotland and the UK.”