A renewables jobs boom for the Highlands moved a step closer 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 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 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. “There are few, if any, vacant sites of this scale in the northern North Sea offering deep water access and the potential to undertake manufacturing, assembly, operations, maintenance and decommissioning from a single location. We now have the all-clear to commence site works and undertake major dredging which will see the port open for business next year.
“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.
“This area of Scotland has a tremendous skills base with a strong heritage in oil, gas and marine operations. If the port can secure a slice of the estimated £70-80 billion UK offshore wind construction market, this will be a very positive story indeed.”
“I would like to commend Highland Council, Transport Scotland and Marine Scotland for their positive approach, and thank Highlands and Islands Enterprise which continues to support us in making our vision a reality,” Gobbi concluded.