Opportunity Cromarty Firth News

Buchan Offshore Wind backs Cromarty Firth Freeport’s PowerHouse by joining Board

Buchan Offshore Wind Ltd., a global offshore wind consortium and winner of a 1GW ScotWind lease, has joined the board of The PowerHouse, the skills and innovation vehicle of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICF).

Buchan Offshore Wind is a partnership between BayWa r.e., a global renewable energy business with UK offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh; Elicio, an experienced Belgian offshore wind developer, owner and operator; and BW Ideol, a proven floating technology leader and international floating wind project co-developer.

The consortium brings together three highly experienced and complementary leaders with a demonstrated commitment to accelerate the development of locally built floating wind.

Buchan Offshore Wind also has the vision to bring significant levels of employment to Scotland and the Highlands having secured the rights to develop the floating Buchan Offshore Wind Farm, through Crown Estate Scotland’s latest ScotWind leasing round. Located 75km northeast of Fraserburgh, the wind farm will have a capacity of around 1GW, enough to power over 800,000 homes with green, renewable energy.

By joining the PowerHouse board, Buchan Offshore Wind is demonstrating its commitment to delivering skills for people across the region, to ensure they are ready for the opportunities to come, as well as to developing research and technology that will accelerate the floating offshore wind sector.

Nicholas Ritchie, Stromar Offshore Wind – Adam Hollis, Buchan Offshore Wind – Mina Hanna, Powerhouse and Bob Buskie, ICF Green Freeport

The Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport will maximise local and Scotland-wide benefits from a massive pipeline of renewable energy projects and skilled jobs, placing the Highlands at the heart of the drive towards net-zero.

Buchan Offshore Wind becomes the second wind consortium to join the board of The PowerHouse in recent weeks, following in the footsteps of Stromar Offshore Wind, the consortium comprising of Renantis, BlueFloat Energy and Ørsted.

Alasdair MacLeod, Project Director for Buchan Offshore Wind said: “At Buchan Offshore Wind, we are passionate about harnessing our combined experience to develop and deliver one of the world’s largest floating offshore wind farms off the northeast coast of Scotland. We see this development as a significant opportunity to maximise the output of clean, green renewable power, while strengthening the Scottish supply chain and supporting organisations, including the recently awarded Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

We believe the Cromarty Firth is perfectly positioned to continue to be a thriving hub for the renewables industry. The Green Freeport status will further the region’s potential, including building a pipeline of sustainable jobs that will benefit not only Scotland, but the UK.”

Bob Buskie, Director of The PowerHouse, speaking on behalf of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, said: “ICF is delighted that Buchan Offshore Wind is supporting the further development of regional skills and expertise by joining the board of The PowerHouse. With the experience that the alliance of BayWa.r.e, BW Ideol and Elicio bring, they will play a crucial role in the development of our plans.”

Heavy lift vessel owner adds its weight to Highland Green Freeport bid

Offshore wind industry vessel owner Zero-C Offshore has become the latest member of Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF), the consortium behind the bid for a Green Freeport centered on Inverness and the Cromarty Firth. 

The Aberdeen-based company is in the process of building a fleet of next generation British-flagged and owned ultra-low emissions heavy lift vessels for the offshore wind farm sector.

Zero-C Offshore said its project to build a zero-emission capable floating foundation installation vessel (FFIV) was “perfectly aligned” with the aims of OCF, as well as its own mission of “spearheading the growth of UK-led clean shipping” in the sector. And the company added the Cromarty Firth was “already synonymous” with the industry, with the extra-large jacket foundations being marshalled at the Global Energy Group’s deep-water Port of Nigg facility.

A spokesman for Zero-C Offshore said: “We are delighted to have become a member of Opportunity Cromarty Firth and are excited to be working with the consortium in its bid to secure Green Freeport status. 

“The Cromarty Firth is an ideal location for the manufacture, staging and deployment of windfarm foundations and other elements for the numerous windfarm projects planned around the coast of Britain.  We hope to make our fleet a feature of this ambitious initiative”

Speaking on behalf of OCF, Steve Chisholm of the Global Energy Group, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Zero–C Offshore to the OCF consortium.

“With the UK’s ambitious targets for offshore wind power generation, the need for the next generation heavy lift vessels they are set to deliver is crucial in achieving government milestones for offshore wind deployment and net-zero.”

The OCF consortium, launched in 2020, includes the ports of Cromarty Firth, Nigg and Inverness and also the Highlands’ largest air terminal and Inverness Airport Business Park.  It is backed by Inverness Chamber of Commerce and more than a dozen businesses, as well as public sector organisations, and academic bodies, including The Highland Council and UHI.The consortium’s bid for Green Freeport status, submitted to the Scottish and UK governments in June, is backed by 13 of the 17 winners of ScotWind seabed leases for new offshore windfarms.

The Cromarty Firth is widely regarded within the renewables sector as the only location in the country suitable for manufacturing equipment at the speed and scale needed to deliver cheaper electricity and energy security.

Fred. Olsen 1848 backs Opportunity Cromarty Firth’s Green Freeport bid with plans for an innovative Mobile Port Solution

Fred. Olsen 1848, a renewable energy innovation company, is exploring the deployment of a mobile quayside, known as the Mobile Port Solution, as part of Opportunity Cromarty Firth’s(OCF) bid to become a Green Freeport.

Building upon the existing infrastructure and competencies for manufacturing, assembly and integration of large industrial scale floating offshore wind structures, the Mobile Port Solution will enhance the floating offshore wind supply chain and infrastructure in Scotland, not the least in the Highlands, and contribute to establishing a floating offshore wind cluster in Inverness and the Cromarty Firth.

The Mobile Port Solution is based on proven technology with minimum environmental impact and builds on existing infrastructure. A wind turbine installation vessel combined with a storage barge, will be located at a suitable location within Cromarty Firth, creating sufficient space and working conditions during the pre-assembly, pre-commissioning, and wind turbine installation on the floating foundation.

CEO of Fred. Olsen 1848, Sofie Olsen Jebsen, states: “Our journey in renewables began 30 years ago, and today Fred. Olsen-related companies employ more than 2,500 people within the renewable energy sector and have in-depth experience from offshore wind. With more than 380 employed people in Scotland across the Fred. Olsen related companies, our focus has always been to create value for the Scottish economy, local suppliers and communities.

“By setting up the Mobile Port Solution in the Firth, Fred. Olsen 1848 would provide an immediate solution for the rapid and cost-efficient installation of floating offshore wind, enabling the creation of new attractive green job opportunities, not only to the Firth but also for the UK in general. This presents an opportunity for the whole Scottish supply chain, including Fred. Olsen 1848 and other Fred. Olsen-related companies, and we support the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport bid.”

The opportunity was further described in a letter of support to OCF’s Green Freeport bid from Esben Strandgaard Kyndesen, Chief Commercial Officer of Fred. Olsen 1848. Kyndesen stated that Inverness and the Cromarty Firth has “the ideal geographical location” for a floating offshore wind cluster as recommended by the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC) in a recent independent report.

He said: “Cromarty Firth offers ideal infrastructure and competencies for manufacturing, assembly and integration of floating offshore wind structures at the size and scale required by the industry, which will be enhanced further with the innovative Mobile Port Solution.“

Bob Buskie, Chief Executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth, speaking on behalf of OCF, said: “OCF is delighted that Fred. Olsen 1848 is supporting our bid to achieve Green Freeport status for Inverness and the Cromarty Firth. The importance of this status to not only the Highlands but also Scotland as a whole cannot be underestimated. It would bring skilled green jobs and high-wage opportunities on a level not seen since the 1970s oil boom.

“The Fred. Olsen 1848 Mobile Port Solution would increase available infrastructure and, used in conjunction with the excellent existing port facilities at Invergordon and Nigg, would enable the Firth to support a larger number of offshore wind projects and accelerate the shift to green energy.”

Whisky Maker Toasts Highland Green Freeport Bid

Leading Scotch whisky maker Whyte and Mackay has said the establishment of a Green Freeport in the Scottish Highlands would help it achieve its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

The firm, which is the largest distiller in the north of Scotland, is expected to be one of the first users of green hydrogen produced from a planned electrolyser on the Cromarty Firth.

And it believes its decarbonisation drive would be boosted by a scaling up of the clean gas production plant that would be enabled by Green Freeport status.

Whyte and Mackay owns five distilleries across Scotland, including Invergordon and The Dalmore on the Cromarty Firth, on the east coast of the Highlands.

The company funded a feasibility study for the electrolyser, along with fellow distillers Glenmorangie and Diageo, as well as ScottishPower, Storegga and the Port of Cromarty Firth  (PoCF).

ScottishPower and Storegga have since announced plans to jointly develop one of the UK’s largest green hydrogen plants in the area. The project’s first phase, expected to be operational in 2025, will be capable of producing up to 20 tonnes of green hydrogen a day, for use in distillery heating processes, as well as regional transportation.

The developers have said Green Freeport status for Inverness and the Cromarty Firth would have the potential to bring forward investment of more than £1billion in a larger-scale plant by up to 10 years and would place the Highlands “firmly at the centre of larger scale production” of the zero-emission fuel.

Whyte and Mackay’s Invergordon distillery is the largest in the north of Scotland and the company is one of the biggest employers in the Cromarty Firth area, with a workforce of around 130.

The firm voiced its support for the north Green Freeport in a letter included with the Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF) consortium’s bid, submitted to UK and Scottish ministers in June.

We have set a target to be carbon neutral by 2030 and we have a number of key projects to allow us to achieve this. Central to this is green gas, with a balanced approach between bio gas and green hydrogen.

We plan to begin taking green hydrogen from the electrolyser when operational; initially requiring two tonnes of green hydrogen per day. This is expected to rise to six tonnes per day by around 2030. This will require an infrastructure capex spend of circa £4-6million by 2030.

We are also heavily investing in a green biomethane anaerobic digestor plant that would have green hydrogen blended into its supply to allow us to generate enough green, carbon free gas to meet our ambition before 2030.

The Cromarty Firth area is of central importance to our business and where we also hold the vast majority of our maturing whisky inventory.

The freeport tax incentive can help accelerate the scale-up of the electrolyser and also reduce the cost of green hydrogen. This is important to allow us to achieve our ambitious decarbonisation goals and also to allow us to be competitive, as we encounter the cost disadvantages by operating in a semi-rural location, almost 200 miles from our bottling and distribution plant in Grangemouth.

The Opportunity Cromarty Firth submission is centred in the areas where we have our largest distilling and maturation footprint and we are fully supportive of the consortium and the benefit it can bring to our area and the community within.

Whyte and Mackay’s Distilling Director, Shane Healy

We would like to sincerely thank Whyte and Mackay for their strong expression of support for our bid.

They, along with Glenmorangie, Diageo, ScottishPower and Storegga have been instrumental in driving the development of a green hydrogen industry in the Highlands and fully support the scaling up of that industry that can be accelerated by the award of Green Freeport status.

As well as helping decarbonise industries, it is a sector that will play an important role in the drive towards regional and national energy security, creating high-quality green careers and supply chain opportunities.

With Green Freeport status for Inverness and the Cromarty Firth, there is a real opportunity for the UK to secure its position as a global leader and leading exporter of this clean fuel alternative.

Commenting on behalf of OCF, Port of Cromarty Firth Chief Executive, Bob Buskie,

North Politicians Unite in Cross-Party Support
For Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport Bid

The UK government has been urged to choose Inverness and the Cromarty Firth as the location for a Green Freeport by a cross-party group of Highland politicians.

Three MPs and five MSPs signed a letter which was submitted with the bid telling ministers that winning the status would provide the opportunity for “once-in-a-lifetime transformational change” for the region.

And the group of SNP, Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Labour representatives highlighted the strengths of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth bid, including the potential to attract £20-30billion investment to the area, echoing support voiced by major international offshore energy developers and others. 

The letter, to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, was signed by MPs Ian Blackford, Drew Hendry and Jamie Stone, along with MSPs Edward Mountain, Jamie Halcro Johnston, Donald Cameron, Rhoda Grant and Maree Todd. In it, they said:

The establishment of a Green Freeport in the Highlands would provide the opportunity for once-in-a-lifetime transformational change. We are excited at the prospect.

The Highland region has particular challenges, lower-than-average incomes and productivity, and multi-generational population decline. It desperately needs new job opportunities to reverse these present trends. We believe this is possible but we need help.

We have £20-30bn investment opportunities on our doorstep and Green Freeport status, and its accompanying benefits, is exactly the vehicle we need to ensure they can be realised.

The locations of two new Green Freeports in Scotland are expected to be announced by the UK and Scottish governments later this summer.  A bid by the Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF) consortium submitted last month is competing against four others, from the north-east, the central belt and Orkney.

Setting out the arguments in favour of Inverness and the Cromarty Firth, the north politicians said:

The area is uniquely placed to benefit the whole of the UK through energy security, trade and investment, lower cost electricity and speeding progress towards net-zero.

It can create tens of thousands of high-quality fair, green jobs, thus meeting the Scottish and UK governments’ regeneration, trade and investment and net-zero objectives.

This bid not only delivers on the Government’s Green Freeport objectives, but also the levelling up agenda; spreading opportunity more equally across Scotland.

It has the land space, some of the deepest waters and quaysides in the UK, sheltered anchorage locations and a cluster of best-in-class companies working together to compete with leading offshore energy port hubs across Europe.

It’s the only location in Scotland with the port infrastructure and experienced supply chain in place to deliver UK energy security through offshore wind, floating wind, pumped hydro storage, green hydrogen and critical manufacturing for the nuclear sector.”

The politicians’ message was reinforced by Jamie Stone, Rhoda Grant, Maree Todd and Highland Council leader, Raymond Bremner at a press conference in Inverness today (Monday 25th July).

Left to right: Raymond Bremner, Maree Todd, Rhoda Grant & Jamie Stone
Location: Town House, Inverness │ Picture credit: Ewen Weatherspoon

We very much welcome this strong show of cross-party support from our elected representatives from across the Highlands for what we are confident is a compelling bid for Green Freeport status for Inverness and the Cromarty Firth.

It echoes what industry and others have said, pointing out that the area is already in pole position in the development of offshore wind and other technologies needed to deliver UK energy security and lower cost electricity.

We also wholeheartedly agree that the Highland economy urgently needs the transformational opportunity that Green Freeport status can bring.

Speaking on behalf of OCF, Port of Cromarty Firth Chief Executive, Bob Buskie

Holtec International Signs Landmark MOU with Global Energy Group & Joins Green Freeport Bid

Holtec International Signs Landmark MOU

Holtec International, a United States-based turnkey supplier of equipment and services for the nuclear, solar, geothermal and fossil power sectors has signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Global Energy Group (GEG).

The terms of the MOU will see GEG join Holtec International in a UK team in the nuclear sector as a specialist manufacturing and engineering partner for modular components for next generation Small Modular Reactors (SMR) and other mission critical components for the industry.

Talking about the agreement, Gareth Thomas, Director, Holtec Britain Ltd, said:

“This MOU is a key part of Holtec Britain’s strategy to take a prominent position within the UK in providing Holtec’s Small Modular Reactor SMR-160 technology and fabrication to support the government’s energy security strategy. Holtec are currently developing a world class supply chain of UK companies – including Global Energy Group – to deliver on SMR-160 fabrication capable of not only delivering in the UK but also providing export opportunity to the international market.

“The Holtec SMR-160 design is modular in construction and the prospect of a Green Freeport in the Cromarty Firth affords us the opportunity to ship in raw materials to be fabricated and modules/equipment constructed before onward transit either within the UK or abroad. In the fabrication phase, set to begin as early as 2026, the engineering package will be worth 10s or even 100s of millions of pounds per SMR project to the supply chain located within the catchment area of the port.”

The MoU is being hailed as a huge opportunity for the Highland region and Global Energy, which has wide-ranging experience in defence nuclear, decommissioning and manufacture. Steve Chisholm, Director of Operations and Innovation at Global Energy Group, commented:

“We are delighted to sign this landmark MOU with Holtec International. Not only do Global Energy Group have unrivalled deep-water facilities at the Port of Nigg where SMR components can be manufactured and shipped to anywhere in the world, we also have a highly skilled workforce developing and deploying new processes, such as electron beam welding, which has huge potential for nuclear. This MOU opens up a great opportunity to develop new processes and disruptive technologies for the cost-effective manufacture of SMRs, which have huge export potential.”

“Active in the nuclear sector since 2010, Global Energy is one of the very few accredited suppliers in the UK. Having manufactured radioactive waste storage vessels for Sellafield and mission-critical components for the Hinkley Point C cooling system at the Port of Nigg, producing components for SMRs – which are being viewed as a key part of the net-zero landscape – is a great opportunity for us as an organisation and for the wider Highland economy.”

Holtec International is currently supported by the US Government to develop and validate a SMR design for the US. It is in discussions with the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) about four possible UK sites for SMR-160s and has formed a UK team to deliver the projects, with Global Energy Group and other UK companies.

Holtec Joins Opportunity Cromarty Firth Green Freeport Bid

Following on from the inking of the MOU, Holtec Britain has joined Global Energy in the Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF) consortium bidding to be granted Green Freeport status. OCF believes that Green Freeport status for the Cromarty Firth would ‘revolutionise’ the Highland and Scottish economy leading to the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.

Speaking about the newest member of the OCF consortium, Steve Chisholm of Global Energy Group, said:

“We think Holtec Britain joining the OCF consortium is a huge boost for the bid. Adding nuclear sector capability to renewables and hydrogen makes the Cromarty Firth – where Holtec are exploring options for a permanent base with local government agencies – a unique proposition.”

“There’s a real opportunity to make the Highlands a centre of excellence for nuclear power technology and manufacture. Supporting that is the huge pool of experienced talent in the Highland & Islands who worked at Dounreay and HMC Vulcan that can be tapped into.”

Holtec’s Gareth Thomas, commented:

“Holtec have undertaken diligence to support our choice of where to locate and whom to engage with to support our SMR-160 program. We have looked at the fantastic opportunities that would be afforded to us by being part of this Green Freeport. The existing experienced nuclear workforce, the excellence of manufacturing companies and the excellent academic links within the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) are all reason why Holtec are supportive of this bid and would wish to be a part of a successful Green Freeport.”

“A successful Freeport bid would deliver the biggest economic change to the Highlands and Islands since records began. It would be critical for retaining a skilled workforce, providing quality sustainable jobs and growing not just the Highland economy but that of Scotland and the wider UK.”

Jamie Stone MP said:

“The Highlands boast a record of excellence in nuclear engineering, with many fantastically skilled scientists, engineers and tradespeople across the region. The expansion of Opportunity Cromarty Firth’s Green Freeport bid to include Holtec is therefore very welcome indeed.”

“It’s quite simple – the success of this bid would be transformative for the Highlands, with investment into permanent infrastructure and jobs that we have not seen in my lifetime. I strongly urge the Scottish and UK governments to agree to grant Green Freeport status to the Cromarty Firth.”

Former SSE Renewables Managing Director to Become Chair of Green Freeport Bid Consortium

Former SSE Renewables managing director Jim Smith has agreed to take on the role of chair of Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF), the consortium leading the bid for Green Freeport status for the Inverness and Cromarty Firth area.

He will be the first person to take the position at the partnership, which includes three Highland ports and Inverness Airport, as well as private and public sector organisations and academic bodies.

Mr Smith held a number of senior management positions at SSE during a career spanning more than 30 years with the Perth-based energy giant.  

He headed SSE Renewables, which is currently leading construction of more wind energy than any other company in the world, from its creation, in 2018, until his retirement in April this year.

“This is an exciting time to be joining Opportunity Cromarty Firth and I am looking forward to working with all the partners that have united behind this important bid.”

“The Highlands are going to be at the heart of rapid development of the UK’s offshore wind industry for decades to come and whether the full benefits of that once-in-a-generation opportunity are realised locally and nationally will be determined by the Green Freeport decision.”

“The area is already in pole position in the sector and is the only Scottish location with the land space, facilities and experienced supply chain needed to deliver floating wind at the scale and speed to meet current targets and compete with established facilities abroad.”

Jim Smith

Open Letter from Industry to Government

In an open letter to Kate Forbes (Scottish Finance Secretary) and Michael Gove (UK Levelling Up Minister), a group of renewable energy developers has urged the Government to back the Inverness and Cromarty Firth bid for Green Freeport status.

Dear Mr Gove and Ms Forbes,

The UK Government’s recent Energy Security Strategy outlined several bold plans, including a five-fold increase in offshore wind capacity by 2030, a world-leading target of 5GW of floating wind and rapid industry investment in electrifying offshore production of oil and gas to reduce our emissions, which also requires floating offshore wind technology.

Floating offshore wind is in its infancy but accounts for some 80% of the world’s offshore wind potential. The UK has an opportunity to be a world leader in the manufacture of this technology and the UK’s own requirement stands at some 20GW by the mid-2030s in Scotland alone.

Making the most of this opportunity means maximising the UK share of this manufacturing pipeline and taking every opportunity to reduce costs through synergies and innovation, which means lower long term green energy bills for the UK.

The Offshore Wind Sector Deal targeted a 60% local content. The latest supply chain submissions from the industry put the potential value of maximising UK content at £2.0bn per GW – i.e. a total of some £40bn by the mid-2030s off Scotland alone, with more to follow as the UK moves to net zero by 2050.

The Cromarty Firth has the overwhelming endorsement of industry, government and in independent studies as the only location in Scotland with the land space, some of the deepest waters and quaysides in the UK, sheltered anchorage locations, and a cluster of best-in-class companies and facilities, combined with the proximity to the windfarm sites that can deliver these ambitions for floating wind at the scale required, compete with established facilities abroad, and create the associated well-paid, sustainable jobs and opportunities for people and businesses across Scotland and the UK. This translates into £0.9-1.3bn per GW of UK manufacturing content that only the Cromarty Firth can deliver (equivalent to £18-26bn by the mid-2030’s). The location also offers the best path to lower costs and thus lower UK fuel bills.

Whilst the (Green) Freeports programme may not have been designed to be the UK’s most powerful tool in delivering this local content, the scale of the investment incentives on offer, and their timing (just as the industry needs to gear up to deliver the UK pipeline) means this is what they have become. Freeports in

Humber and Teesside are demonstrating just what can be achieved for the UK economy, but only with the benefit of Freeport investment incentives alongside the UK’s offshore wind grant regime. New offshore wind manufacturing in Scotland will be similarly dependent.

This means that the forthcoming Green Freeport decisions in Scotland look set to decide the future of UK offshore wind manufacturing, and floating wind in particular, including in terms of the critical question of UK content.

The establishment of a Green Freeport in the Highlands would provide the opportunity for once-in-a- lifetime transformational change; projected to create 25,000 high-quality, fair, green jobs and over £6bn in GVA; meeting the Scottish and UK governments’ regeneration, trade and investment and net zero objectives. The region is uniquely placed to benefit the whole of the UK through energy security, trade and investment, lower cost electricity and a faster, more just transition to net zero.

The ports of Invergordon and Nigg in the Cromarty Firth have supported more offshore wind projects than any other Scottish ports. The £2.5bn 588MW Beatrice, £2.6bn 1GW Moray East, and £3bn 1GW Seagreen offshore windfarms were constructed and marshalled from the Firth, which has also already supported two floating windfarm projects, Hywind and Kincardine.

With partners at Port of Inverness, this region has stored and handled hundreds of onshore windfarm components and will play a critical role in doubling the UK’s electricity storage capacity through pumped storage. Supported by Green Freeport status, the largest onshore green hydrogen electrolyser is also scheduled to begin production in 2024; resolving some of the grid constraint issues and producing clean energy that can be easily transported around the country and exported abroad.

The local economy has the capacity to support a Green Freeport, through its skills base and the strength of key industries relevant for growing the clean energy sector and other key growth sectors. Inverness and Cromarty Firth’s dedicated skills and innovation vehicle, The PowerHouse, has the backing of industry and recently completed its first research project for the Department for Transport’s Clean Maritime Competition.

As developers of this critical infrastructure, the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport bid has our full confidence. We fully support the development of, and are committed to investing in, this region.

Offshore wind developer members of the OCF consortium represent 100% of the ScotWind floating wind sites in the east sector, 100% of the fixed and floating sites in the northeast sector, plus the 2GW fixed N1 site. This represents 12 of the 17 awarded sites and 13GW of the 14.6GW of the awarded floating offshore

wind pipeline in Scotland that will be constructed over the coming decades. We call on Government to demonstrate your own commitment to the policies you have created and to back this historic opportunity to build a better, greener, more prosperous Scotland and UK.

Yours sincerely,

Ocean Winds, ScottishPower Renewables, Orsted, Storegga, Fred. Olsen 1848, Falck Renewables, BlueFloat Energy, Floating Energy Allyance, West of Orkney Windfarm, Shell, SSE Renewables, Mara Mhor Offshore Wind Farm, and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners

Highlands in Line for Multi-product Manufacturing Facility for Offshore Renewables

To meet the requirements of Scotland’s burgeoning offshore renewables sector, Global Energy Group (GEG), a member of the OCF consortium, has announced a milestone at the Port of Nigg and the proposed development of a rolled tubular manufacturing facility at the site.

The proposal will create a majority UK owned and operated manufacturing rolling facility, with GEG proposed as majority operator of the site. The announcement highlights GEG’s commitment to the enhanced rolled multi-product demand in the area. Working with strategic partners, the company is developing a revised business case as primary operator of the site, with a combined focus on supporting both the development of floating offshore wind technology as well as wind turbine towers.

It is anticipated that The Cromarty Firth and Port of Nigg will play a critical role in providing the manufacturing skills and knowhow in order to deliver renewables technology required following the ScotWind leasing for offshore wind farms, as well as the development of the Freeport and the forthcoming Crown Estates INTOG leasing round. Preparatory work on the site has already begun with the demolition of existing workshops and space creation.

We are fully committed to developing the offshore wind supply chain and establishing a world class manufacturing facility for rolled steel products at the Port of Nigg. This is an exciting opportunity to ensure supply chain opportunities are delivered locally to the benefit of the local economy and we believe that with the support of government and industry partners we have the right team and skills in place to develop the manufacturing site.

Global Energy Group Chairman, Roy MacGregor

I warmly welcome this announcement by Global Energy Group to strengthen our domestic supply chain capacity, by developing manufacturing facilities at the Port of Nigg. Working alongside our Enterprise Agencies, the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring our domestic supply chain is given all available opportunities to capitalise on the growth of the offshore renewables sector, sustaining existing skilled jobs and delivering new ones.

Offshore wind is rapidly becoming one of the cheapest forms of electricity and Scotland has some of the most extensive renewable generation capabilities in Europe. ScotWind puts Scotland at the forefront of the global development of offshore wind and represents a massive step forward in our transition to net zero. Developers have committed to invest more than £25bn across the 17 Scotwind offshore wind projects.

The Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council’s Collaborative Framework Charter, demonstrates developers’ commitment to collaborate to create supply chain work within Scotland and I look forward to this momentum continuing in the years ahead.

Net Zero & Energy Secretary Michael Matheson

SSE Renewables is continuing to work with Global Energy Group to deliver a world leading tower facility at Port of Nigg, including support funding to make it happen. We look forward to working with GEG to bring forward these revised plans over the coming period and to fulfilling our role as a strategic backer, placing orders to meet our growing offshore pipeline in due course.

Paul Cooley, Director of Offshore Wind – Global, SSE Renewables

Green Freeport Status in the Scottish Highlands Can Attract More Than £2.5BILLION Private Investment

More than £2.5bn of new private sector investment in the UK’s vital green energy sector is at stake as ministers choose the locations for two Scottish Green Freeports this summer, the consortium bidding to win the status for the Scottish Highlands said today (Monday).

The benefits of financial backing at such a scale would be shared across Scotland and the UK, creating 25,000 jobs, as well as accelerating the decarbonisation of the power industry and the just transition to net-zero, according to Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF).

OCF submitted what it described as a “compelling and logical” bid for Green Freeport status for the Inverness and Cromarty Firth area ahead of today’s 10am deadline set for bids by ministers in London and Edinburgh.

A deep, sheltered North Sea inlet on the east coast of the Highlands, the firth is the focal point for the rapid development of the UK’s new offshore wind industry and has served as a hub for the oil and gas sector for more than half a century.

It is widely regarded within the renewables sector as the only location in the country suitable for manufacturing equipment at the speed and scale needed to deliver cheaper electricity and energy security. The bid is backed by 13 of the 17 winners of ScotWind seabed leases for new offshore windfarms.

The drive to set up fixed and floating offshore windfarms is also spurring development of a new green hydrogen industry, with the Highland area at the heart of large-scale developments and export opportunities in that emerging sector.

OCF said in its bid a proposed floating “super wind hub” assembly and production facility – a development that would be enabled by winning Green Freeport status – sets the area apart from the rest of the country.  The offshore wind boom, coupled with Green Freeport status, is forecast to create around 25,000 direct and indirect jobs, with the majority (around 15,000) in the Highlands, during a decade of construction alone. That phase is expected to contribute around £6bn to the economy, with a further £60m-a-year being generated during the operational lifetimes of the windfarms.

We believe the impact of Green Freeport status would be transformational for the viability of projects the renewables industry needs to deliver and would be pivotal in attracting £2.5bn of new private sector investment.

Central to that would be the establishment of the super wind hub facility on the firth, which would stimulate component manufacture in Scottish and UK ports, rather than this activity happening abroad.

The Cromarty Firth is going to be at the very heart of the UK’s energy production map for many decades to come, in the way former coal mining areas were in the past and the north-east of Scotland has been with its key geographical role in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

We have been working closely for more than two years with renewables developers, the supply chain and many other stakeholders to examine in detail what can be achieved locally and nationally through Green Freeport status in the Highlands. We are confident the result of that process is a compelling and logical bid.

Bob Buskie, Chief Executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth

The renewables industry is going to make a bigger, longer-term positive impact on the Highland economy than any other sector has, including our half century involvement with oil and gas.

That industry knows this area can deliver the location, the facilities, the experience and ambition it needs. Green Freeport status, which will attract new investment and help nurture innovation, offers the key to ensuring this massive opportunity can be taken to its optimum level, for the benefit of the Highlands, Scotland and the UK.

Roy MacGregor, Chairman of Global Energy Group / Port of Nigg
Joanne Allday and Alex Johnson, of OCF, along with Highland engineering student Joe Arnaud (centre) at Inverness Airport this morning (20/06/22), bound for London, where they will highlight the strength of the Highland Green Freeport bid to MPs at a parliamentary reception later today.