Energy in the Highlands and Islands

Much has changed since the discovery of rich oil and gas reserves off the coast of Scotland. Not least the discovery of even richer and more sustainable sources of energy.

The Highlands and Islands’ geographical position, with its expanse of coastal waters, strong waves and tides, makes it one of the best locations in Europe for spearheading offshore wind, wave and tidal power. Meanwhile onshore wind, hydro-electric and biomass schemes are powering local communities.

Pioneering the alternative energy revolution

Overall, the region has become a world leader in the development and production of renewable energy, particularly offshore.

It has already amassed a strong, knowledgeable supply chain of complementary companies that can conceive, devise, test, manufacture, install, operate, distribute and support renewable energy technology - from research to full-scale commercial implementation. Here are just some of the many initiatives pioneering this exciting sector:

  • The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) based in Orkney, where developers from all over the world are able to test prototype wave and tidal devices in ideal conditions.
  • High above the southwestern tip of Loch Ness, the UK’s largest hydro scheme for 30 years is in place at Glendoe.
  • SIMEC Atlantis' MeyGen project is the world's largest tidal stream array project and is located in the Pentland Firth.  The company has plans to grow the project significantly in the coming years.  
  • The region is home to the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm - A £2.6bn project comprising 84 turbines and producing 588MW of electricity - enough to power around 450,000 homes. This project is currently under construction and first power was delivered in 2018, with the array planned to be fully operational by Summer 2019.

Several hundred businesses across the Highlands and Islands are active in the energy industry, including electrical installers, crane hire, haulage, civil engineering, environmental consultants and many more. These projects and companies contribute to a healthy, dynamic supply chain, which in turn lends itself to economic growth and employment across the region.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) can support you with almost every aspect of the decision-making process, whether it’s finance or IT, finding suitable premises or staff recruitment, product development or marketing. You’ll have a dedicated team to work with you every step of the way, both before and after you’ve made the move - helping your business get up and running quickly and to build strong foundations for growth and development.

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