Plans for two new industrial buildings within Orkney’s Enterprise Areas (EA’s) have been unveiled by economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Planning applications for the speculative large scale buildings, designed to act as engineering hubs to support the future development of the marine energy industry, have been formally lodged with Orkney Islands Council (OIC).
The two buildings, one each at Hatston and Lyness, would help meet the longer term device deployment and maintenance needs of projects aimed at the commercial scale exploitation of marine renewable energy resources within the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. Nearer term however, the facilities could also be important in supporting the world-leading research activity being undertaken in Orkney at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).
Graeme Harrison, HIE’s Area Manager for Orkney, said: “We are at a very early stage in the plans for these two units but there are strong indications that this type and scale of facility will be required in the future to support the industry as it moves to the commercial deployment phase. There is currently no commitment or funding allocated to construct the units but we think that it is appropriate and sensible to progress this project to ensure we are ready and can respond quickly when developers require the additional facilities.
“Leading marine developers have shown an early interest in new developments at Hatston and Lyness and we have worked with them in order to ensure the initial designs are suitable for their needs.
“These plans will provide a generic building design which is flexible to allow the facility to be easily adapted to suit the needs of the individual tenants. The building design can also be easily replicated on both sites, as well as at other locations across the Highlands and Islands as required.
“This initiative builds on the significant amount of joint working already carried out by HIE and OIC at Orkney’s two EA’s to date, which has seen significant investment in new piers and associated shoreside facilities. The planned new developments would further underline the credentials of both Hatston and Lyness as key locations for the offshore energy sector and will help to attract new business to Orkney.”
As part of the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Renewables Enterprise Area (North), both Hatston and Lyness have been recognised as key locations to help stimulate new manufacturing opportunities as well as investment and job creation in the renewables sector.
Incentives and actions to stimulate investment include business rate discounts, streamlined planning protocols, enhanced broadband provision, skills and training support and an international marketing campaign to promote the sites.
In 2012, HIE constructed six smaller industrial units within the Hatston Enterprise Area, specifically to provide office/workshop/storage facilities for technology developers testing prototype marine energy devices at EMEC’s test sites. HIE invested £2.95m, including £1.18m from the European Regional Development Fund, to create the units.
To view the plans, visit the Planning section of the Orkney Islands Council website: www.orkney.gov.uk/Service-Directory/D/application_search_submission.htmhttp://www.orkney.gov.uk/Service-Directory/D/application_search_submission.htm