A £20 million investment programme at Scrabster Harbour is securing jobs and helping to position the north of Scotland at the forefront of the renewables revolution.
The Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth Secretary visited the harbour to witness progress on major redevelopment plans in December 2011. The developments are supported by the Scottish Government and HIE, and is already attracting interest from renewables businesses.
During his visit, Mr Swinney said:
"The Scottish Government is committed to the development of a successful and sustainable offshore renewables industry in Scotland.
"The investment here at Scrabster harbour is already helping to secure the anticipated economic and environmental benefits of a renewables revolution.
"Work began on this ambitious harbour redevelopment in August and is due to complete in July next year, on time and within budget. Over half of those directly employed in this work are locally based and the project is directly supporting another seven local businesses.
"Already major renewables companies are expressing interest in the opportunities for manufacturing, assembly and deployment of devices as well as the maintenance and operations services the port can provide. And Scrabster is well place to take advantage of developments in the oil and gas industry west of Shetland which will help to secure the future of that industry well into the future.
"The large scale development of offshore renewables represents the biggest opportunity for sustainable economic growth in Scotland for a generation and it is critical that Scotland exploits those opportunities.
"Scotland has the natural resources and technical expertise to provide a considerable market opportunity for offshore wind and wave & tidal energy technology and equipment providers, as well as potential inward investors.
"The Scottish Government is determined that, through our support, Scotland's coastal communities realise the full benefits that this green industrial revolution will bring. "
Scrabster Harbour Trust Chairman William Calder said:
"The Trust is grateful to the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and our other funding partners for their confidence and support in advancing our Phase 1 development This is a hugely exciting period for Scrabster and Caithness, the port is ideally placed to capitalise on the marine renewable activity in the Pentland Firth and oil and gas development West of Shetland. Commercial interest in the port has never been stronger. We look forward to continued partnership working to further develop the port in line with our development programme".
HIE's Director of Regional Development Carroll Buxton said:
"Investment by the public and private sectors in modern port facilities such as Scrabster will support the ambitions of Scotland and the Highlands and Islands in particular to become the global centre of the marine renewables sector."