Building company Rok is to begin a £3m upgrade to a major manufacturing yard at Arnish Point, Stornoway - the first project under its four-year property framework contract with HIE.
The project includes re-cladding of the existing 12,000 square metre fabrication facility using advanced technology materials and is expected to be completed in spring 2011.
Archie Macdonald, HIE's area manager said: "We recognise the key role Arnish has played in developing Scotland's renewable energy industry. Since HIE took over the lease of Arnish it has opened up the opportunity for the Outer Hebrides to gain a foothold in an expanding global industry. The buildings tenants, BiFab, a fabrication company operating in both the renewables and oil and gas sectors anticipate that the upgrade will enable the facility to grow their already important position in the renewables and heavy engineering sectors."
Among a range of contracts, BiFab will build the full scale prototype of Scotland's most advanced tidal turbine for Hammerfest Strom which will be deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) next May.
BiFab is positioning itself as the market leader in the supply of offshore wind farm substructures. John Robertson, managing director of BiFab, said: "The significant facilities Arnish offers and the skilled local labour force combine to make a major contribution to BiFab's continuing success in supplying worldwide markets."
Andy Mallice, Managing Director of Rok Scotland said: "We are delighted to begin our work with Highlands and Islands Enterprise on this exciting project at Arnish. We worked hard to secure the framework contract and it's great to get started. Like any building firm, we are working in challenging times and winning this major contract is welcome news for both Rok and our subcontractors. We have a strong track record of working throughout the Outer Hebrides and the Highlands and we look forward to building on this reputation under the new framework contract."
The £3m funding was made available by the Scottish Government earlier this year.