Work has recently begun on the construction of six new industrial units for the renewable energy sector in Orkney.
The contract for the work was won by Elgin firm, Mansell Construction Services Ltd and 80 percent of the work will be carried out by local sub-contractors, with local contractor Casey Construction now on site.
The development of the units at Hatston Pier in Kirkwall was a result of consultation with the Stromness-based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), which had identified a clear need for new facilities to service the needs of its developers. Hatston presents an ideal location for those testing at EMEC's Fall of Warness sites off the south end of Eday.
HIE is investing £2.95m, which includes £1.18m from the European Regional Development Fund, to create the flexible use units on the previously vacant industrial site owned by Orkney Islands Council.
The first units will be completed in early 2012 and ultimately the development will support around 35 jobs. EMEC itself plans to lease one of the six HIE units, and is already attracting interest in the others from developers.
Ken Grant, HIE's area manager for Orkney, said: "It is already well known that Orkney is a world class location for cutting-edge wave and tidal energy technology research and development.
"To reap the benefits for our economy, we must ensure the infrastructure is in place, and up till now there has been a gap in the provision of suitable premises for tidal energy developers in the Kirkwall area.
Neil Kermode, managing director at EMEC said, "These units will form an integral part of EMEC and Orkney's support for international developers, upon which the future potential of wave and tidal energy production is dependant. We are extremely grateful to HIE for taking the lead in providing these much needed facilities at a time when there has been an obvious lack of suitable premises."
Iain Lumsden, regional director for Mansell, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this prestigious project and to be able to play our part in the continued development of the world class marine renewable energy industry in Orkney.
"We look forward to utilising our experience and expertise to successfully deliver the project, during which we will ensure that the use of local resources is maximised wherever possible in accordance with HIE and Mansell's sustainability policy."
For further detailed information on the units, interested parties should get in touch with Harvey Stevenson at: firstname.lastname@example.org