ABP signs deal to explore ambitious offshore wind infrastructure development in Scotland

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A section of the Pitcalzean Farm Green Freeport area

Associated British Ports ("ABP") has today announced a deal to investigate the development of ambitious offshore wind ("OSW") manufacturing, assembly and marshalling infrastructure and a green energy hub on the Cromarty Firth in Scotland, within the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport ("the Green Freeport").

Offshore wind offers a massive opportunity for Scotland and the UK to not only dramatically increase the generation of green, secure electricity but also to land the investment, jobs and prosperity that should accompany development.

ABP has signed an agreement in respect of an area of land at Pitcalzean Farm adjacent to the Nigg Energy Park. Pitcalzean Farm, which lies within the proposed Nigg and Pitcalzean Tax Site of the Green Freeport, has been identified as ideally located and with the key physical characteristics required for supporting both fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind (FLOW) projects. ABP will work with the local community as part of the investigation of the potential of the location.

The Floating Offshore Wind Taskforce’s recently published “Industry Roadmap 2040”, estimated that planned floating offshore wind (“FLOW”) projects in Scottish waters alone will require three to five integration ports. ABP’s vision is to explore the suitability and business case for the development of a major OSW construction port to support the growth of floating offshore wind farms in Scottish waters.  ABP’s proposal offers an exciting opportunity for the port to become a hub for ScotWind projects through investment in bespoke port infrastructure to support FLOW, which is currently missing in Scotland.

ABP is already developing a major FLOW construction port at its Port Talbot, South Wales location and will be applying the experience from that development as it assesses options for Nigg.

Henrik Pedersen, CEO of ABP, said: “Offshore wind offers huge potential to generate green energy and – if the right conditions are in place – significant jobs and prosperity benefits to Scotland and the UK. We’re excited to explore the potential of Nigg, applying our experience from our Port Talbot development. We look forward to working with key local partners, the community and public sector stakeholders.”

He continued: “This new project emphasises ABP’s commitment to supporting green growth projects and is closely linked to our recently launched sustainability strategy – Ready for Tomorrow – which sets out plans for reaching net zero from our own operations by 2040.”

Andy Reay, Head of Offshore Wind for ABP, commented: “This is an exciting development that plays a vital role in supporting delivery of the UK’s net zero commitments and the requirements for offshore wind projects in Scottish waters.

“The announcement follows the latest offshore leasing rounds in Scotland such as  ScotWind, with over 20GW worth of projects allocated, and successful bidders currently developing their local supply chain plans to deliver the projects, for which ports will provide a critical service.”

In selecting the potential development site, ABP has been respectful of other sites important for the success of the Cromarty Firth Green Port and looks forward to working with local stakeholders to achieve that common goal.

Ports play a vital role in supporting the UK’s green energy transition. Today’s announcement will further cement ABP’s reputation as a leader in supporting the offshore wind industry with, for example, the world’s largest offshore wind O&M port at its Port of Grimsby and hosting the UK’s largest wind turbine component-manufacturing plant at Green Port Hull.

Over recent years, together with its customers, ABP has invested over £300 million to support the growth of offshore wind. It has plans for further investment with its transformative plan for supporting offshore wind in the Southern North Sea via its Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility (LEEF) and is developing plans for a c.£500 million investment in its port at Port Talbot in South Wales to act as a major base for FLOW construction and manufacturing.

ABP’s existing ports on the West Coast of Scotland at the entrance to the Firth of Clyde – the Ports of Ayr and Troon – have recently also played an important role in supporting the delivery of onshore wind projects including the South Kyle windfarm and Kirk Hill.