£8.3m boost for Highland energy port

Published: 28/01/2021

HIE has approved investment of up to £8.3m in Scottish Government funding for an £18.9m project to develop the East Quay at Nigg in Easter Ross.

Nigg from the air - image credit Inverair Drone Services

The project will help the Highlands and Islands economy benefit more from the growth in renewable energy development, as well as meeting the needs of existing clients.

Once completed, the new facility is forecast to bring an additional £11.24m in new business to the area in its first three years and create up to 39 new jobs.

Owned by Global Energy Group (GEG), Port of Nigg is home to the largest graving dock facility in Europe with more than 900 metres of deep-water quayside.

A major asset in servicing the oil and gas industry over many decades, the facility has more recently become an established hub in the growing renewables sector.

Its first major renewables project was the logistics and marshalling for the wind turbine scope for the Beatrice offshore wind development, during which time demand for quayside space began to exceed infrastructure capacity.

This demand and the opportunities associated with wider growth in renewables are the main drivers behind the East Quay development.

GEG is planning to build new infrastructure of 225 metres of additional deep-water quayside and adjacent laydown area at the eastern edge of the park. 

This will help meet the needs of existing clients while enabling greater participation in renewables activities with capacity to carry out both the foundation stage and the Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) scope (marshalling, assembly and load out) for large projects.

Work is expected to begin in April and will take around 14-16 months to complete.

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

“Offshore renewables represent a huge opportunity not only for the region, but for all of Scotland and we are committed to making the most of this to support growth within the Scottish supply chain, bring new projects to Scotland and build a green recovery from COVID-19.

“This announcement marks a significant step as we continue to push forward with our ambitious and world-leading net zero targets and a target of seeing 11GW of offshore wind developed in Scotland’s waters by 2030, alongside the launch of Crown Estate Scotland’s first ScotWind leasing round. At the end of last year, we also unveiled more than 100 new policies and proposals to support our green recovery, which will also help deliver a just transition to net zero.

“Nigg is recognised globally for the abundance of knowledge, skills and expertise it has to offer, including in offshore wind and marine energy projects, and is also recognised for the role it now plays in the energy transition. Now is an opportune time to re-imagine the Scotland around us and to begin building a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy focused on wellbeing.”

Alistair Dodds, chair of HIE, said:

“The Highlands and Islands is already a leading region in the advent of renewable energy and indeed punching above its weight in the transition to a net zero economy.

“At EMEC in Orkney they’re combining flow battery technology with tidal energy to produce green hydrogen and the world’s first large-scale tidal array is performing well in the Pentland Firth.

“The region has many natural advantages for this transition, and our ports and harbours will be vital assets in unlocking that potential.

“Port of Nigg is very much at the heart of that. It has been a key player in the energy sector and its potential to contribute to and secure benefits from the growth in renewables is clear.

“This is a very welcome initiative by Global Energy Group and one that will benefit the region for many years to come. We are very pleased to be able to support the project and look forward to continuing to work with the company as it implements its plans.”

Rory Gunn, facilities director at the Port of Nigg said:

“The transformation and upgrade of the facilities at the Port of Nigg have been amazing to be a part of during the past few years. We truly have a world class facility which is ideally suited to meet the demands of our multi energy sector clients, and when this is coupled with our fantastic workforce, great things happen.

“The investment required to transform Nigg into what it is today is significant, and we are eternally thankful to Highland and Islands Enterprise for their continued support on this journey.

“With a 50-year pipeline of opportunity ahead of us with the Scotwind renewables leasing round, the Cromarty Firth facilities are ideally located to support those projects.

“This new quayside will greatly enhance the capabilities of our port, and help to attract further customers, inward investment and job creation.”

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