Thu, 04 September 2014
A renewables jobs boom for the Highlands of Scotland (UK) moved a step closer this month as the Port of Ardersier secured the full backing of the Scottish Government for plans to turn the former oil fabrication yard on the Moray Firth into a manufacturing ‘super-hub’ for offshore wind.
In what the port’s Chief Executive Officer Captain Steve Gobbi described as a ‘major milestone’, the 400 acre facility has been given the green light from the government and its regulators Marine Scotland and Transport Scotland.
The vacant site 15 miles east of Inverness now holds a marine licence and a harbour revision order, together with full planning consent from Highland Council secured earlier this year, paving the way for a potential jobs boom for the Highlands.
“This is a major milestone for the Port of Ardersier,” said Captain Gobbi: “We now have a compelling offering to offshore wind consortia, manufacturers, tier 1 suppliers and operations and maintenance contractors – and have been in discussion with a number of major firms which can benefit from this vast, dedicated and unrestricted site with superb access to major offshore wind zones”.
The news follows the approval of £2.5 billion plans to build the Moray and Beatrice offshore wind farms in the outer Moray Firth, which together will be the world’s third largest offshore wind farm with up to 326 wind turbines. The Beatrice scheme has been awarded an early ‘contract for difference’ investment contract from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change – securing a guaranteed long-term feed-in tariff for the 664 MW project.
This would be a second lease of life for the specialist port. Formerly the McDermott Fabrication Yard, it was built on land reclaimed from the foreshore in the 1970s for the fabrication and construction of North Sea oil and gas platfor