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International focus on Cromarty and Moray Firths to create a floating offshore w

Published: 27/05/2022

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has partnered with Scottish Development International (SDI) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) to launch a global initiative to attract overseas manufacturing companies of scale to ports in the Cromarty and Moray Firths.

The main target of this international initiative under the DIT’s High Potential Opportunities (HPO) programme is to attract inward investors from across the globe to help manufacture the main components for future floating offshore wind projects.

The focus for this inward investment from global companies of scale will be the Scottish Floating Wind Port Cluster. These were the ports identified through the Strategic Investment Assessment report which came out in December 2021.

This independent report, commissioned by the Scottish Government and led by University of Strathclyde Principal, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, identified the ports in the Cromarty and Moray Firths – Port of Nigg, Port of Cromarty Firth, Ardersier Port and the Port of Inverness - as the nucleus of the Scottish Floating Wind Port Cluster.

Companies interested in manufacturing the huge substructures, up to 100m in diameter and anywhere from 3,000-6,000 tonnes in weight, along with the various other components required, will be invited to visit these ports and engage with HIE and the Scottish Government to explore the potential for creating a floating wind manufacturing hub in the Highlands.

The overseas manufacturing companies will also be invited to engage directly with the Scottish supply chain through the HIE-led DeepWind offshore wind cluster, and its 700 members, to ensure that Scottish companies are also benefiting directly from this enormous market opportunity.   

The Scottish Floating Wind Port Cluster will also be the focus of significant job creation as the floating wind industry develops in Scotland to deliver the projects in the huge ScotWind leasing round as well as the latest round aimed at decarbonising oi and gas facilities in the North Sea - the Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) round.

With 15GW of floating wind in the ScotWind round, 5GW in the INTOG round and a further potential 2GW coming from the ScotWind Clearing Round (NE1 site to the east of Shetland), Scotland will have the largest floating wind market in the world. This 22GW of floating wind will require over 1,200 floating substructures, almost five times more structures than delivered by the oil and gas Industry in the whole of the North Sea in the last four decades.

This international Floating Wind HPO initiative represents a huge opportunity for the Highlands and Islands, and Scotland as a whole. It aims to bring more manufacturing capacity of scale, create more jobs and cement Scotland’s position as the number one global market for this emerging floating offshore wind industry. 

Stuart Black, chief executive of HIE, said “Floating wind may be the most significant opportunity to come to the Highland and Islands of Scotland since the development of oil and gas in the North Sea kicked off in the 1970s. These huge floating power stations will create thousands of long-term jobs in some of the most fragile areas of our economy and help us make the transition from fossil fuels to a more sustainable energy mix.

“The Highlands and Islands is in a prime position to capitalise on this massive opportunity, thanks to significant private and public investment in our ports over several years, transferrable skills and expertise from those working in the oil and gas sector, and an active and innovative supply chain across the region.”

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