Photo: Port of Nigg from the air (Courtesy of Inverair Drone Services)

Port of Nigg gets £8.3M boost to accommodate growth of renewables

Regional development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has approved investment of up to £8.3 million in Scottish government funding for the development of East Quay at Port of Nigg to help meet the needs of growing renewable energy sector.

Photo of the Port of Nigg from the air (Courtesy of Inverair Drone Services)
Port of Nigg from the air (Courtesy of Inverair Drone Services)

The £18.9 million 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, HIE said.

Once completed, the new facility is forecast to bring an additional £11.24 million 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.

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “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”.

The first major renewables project for the port 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.

The demand and the opportunities associated with wider growth in renewables are the main drivers behind the East Quay development, according to HIE.

Also, 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, HIE said.

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, according to HIE.

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