A group of Caithness and Sutherland businesses, including Wick Harbour Authority and Scrabster Harbour Trust, have travelled to Suffolk to look in detail at the services and facilities offered at the extensive offshore wind operations base which has been established there.
The visit to Lowestoft was funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as part of a learning journey as Caithness continues to position itself to become a key base for offshore wind developments.
The offer of a visit came from SSE following an SCDI dinner hosted by Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership earlier this year.
Malcolm Bremner, Wick Harbour Authority said: "The visit was really worthwhile. Wick Harbour has been working hard to develop the harbour in readiness for the Moray Firth offshore wind developments and the visit really brought it home to us the extent of the opportunities. With funding support from HIE, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and European funding we are now in the process of establishing a heavy-lift pad and associated dredging works on the commercial quay. We'll now take stock of all the information we have gathered from our trip to Lowestoft with a view to identifying what our next steps are."
Roy Kirk, HIE Area Manager for Caithness and Sutherland said: "We were delighted when SSE invited us to visit their Lowestoft operations. It was essential to get as many of the local businesses down to see this for themselves and it is pleasing to hear how invaluable this visit has been.
"HIE looks forward to continuing to work with both Wick and Scrabster harbours to ensure that they are ready not only for the potential work from offshore wind but also from marine renewables and oil & gas as well.
Caithness is well positioned to capitalise on all these industries and we are working hard with various companies to ensure they are aware of what the area can offer."