The UK’s largest port operator has identified part of Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICFGF) as having potential for a new offshore wind farm manufacturing and assembly base.
Associated British Ports (ABP), which runs more than 20 ports in England, Scotland and Wales, is looking at prospects for a site around Pitcalzean Farm, near Global Energy Group‘s Nigg Energy Park.
ABP said it was to investigate the area “for the development of infrastructure to support offshore wind manufacturing, assembly and marshalling”.
Port firm says development could maximise investment, jobs and ‘opportunity’
The company added the site could support both fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind projects and play a “major role” in the development of current and future ScotWind leasing rounds.
It will be working closely with “key local stakeholders and the community” as it considers the potential of the location over the coming months.
ABP also said development of the site could “help maximise the delivery of investment, jobs and opportunity for the Cromarty Firth and the wider region”.
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Henrik Pedersen, the firm’s chief executive, said: “Offshore wind offers huge potential to generate green energy and – if the right conditions are in place – significant jobs and prosperity benefits to Scotland and the UK.
“We’re excited to explore the potential of Nigg, applying our experience across the UK.”
This experience has been built up at ports including Grimsby, Hull, Lowestoft and Barrow which already host significant offshore wind activity.
The company is currently developing plans for an investment of about £500 million at Port Talbot, in South Wales, which is earmarked for a major offshore wind construction facility.
ABP will be applying learning from that development as it assesses options for Nigg.
‘Great new potential’
ICFGF chief executive Calum MacPherson said: “Offshore wind presents great new potential for growing investment, and good jobs for the Inverness and Cromarty Firth areas.
“It’s good to see an additional experienced port operator coming on board who wants to work with the existing green freeport members and local communities to help maximise the potential of the area.”
The Floating Offshore Wind Taskforce’s recently published Industry Roadmap 2040 document says planned floating offshore wind projects in Scottish waters alone will require three to five “integration ports”.
Andy Reay, head of offshore wind for ABP, said: “Ports play a vital role in supporting the UK’s green energy transition.”
ABP said it, along with its custyomers, had invested more than £300m to support the growth of offshore wind in recent years. The group’s ports have supported the installation of more than 500 turbines and already provide support to in excess of seven gigawatts of offshore wind energy output – over half of the UK total.
Its two Scottish ports at Ayr and Troon have recently played an important role in supporting the delivery of onshore wind projects, including South Kyle and Kirk Hill.