The Highland Council has granted permission for Port of Ardersier to turn the former oil fabrication yard on the Moray Firth into a manufacturing ‘super-hub’ for offshore wind.
The council has granted onshore planning consent – giving a thumbs-up to ambitious plans to transform the 160 hectare (400 acres) vacant site into a manufacturing, assembly and operations and maintenance base for new offshore wind fields off Scotland’s east coast.
The site owners are now awaiting the green light from the government and its regulators Marine Scotland and Transport Scotland for the offshore elements of the site. It is anticipated these consents – a marine licence and a harbour revision order – could be in place in the coming weeks, paving the way for a potential jobs boom for the Highlands.
With a large vacant site and a 1km deep water quay, the purpose-built yard – located 15 miles east of Inverness – is ideally placed to take a slice of the estimated £70-80 billion UK offshore wind construction market.
Welcoming the news, Port of Ardersier Chief Executive Officer Captain Stephen Gobbi said:
“We are continuing to work closely with Transport Scotland and Marine Scotland to ensure we secure the harbour revision order and marine licence which will unlock the incredible potential of this unique site.”
Calum Davidson, Director of Energy at Highlands and Islands Enterprise said:
"A year ago we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Port of Ardersier, offering our support for the development of the site, and to quickly achieve on-shore planning and marine consenting. I am delighted that we are well down that road. It’s clear the port has the potential to become a major European energy manufacturing and assembly facility and HIE looks forward working alongside the Port of Ardersier in pursuit of that goal."
Press release, January 31, 2014; Image: portofardersier