Plans unveiled for build of Scotland’s largest renewable energy hub

PLANS have been unveiled for the build of Scotland’s largest and ‘best located’ renewable energy hub.

Forth Ports is behind the £40 million proposal for the creation of the bespoke, riverside marine berth at the Port of Leith, which the firm said would be capable of accommodating the world’s largest offshore wind installation vessels.

The facility would feature a heavy lift capability of up to 100 tonnes per square metre, backed up by 35 acres of adjacent land for logistics and marshalling. This will be supplemented by the upgrading of a 140 acre cargo handling site to accommodate the lay down; assembly’ supply chain and manufacturing opportunities.

The firm added that the hub has the potential to make a ‘major’ contribution to Scotland achieving its 2045 net zero greenhouse gasses target; securing the Firth of Forth as the driver for the country’s green energy transition; help spearhead Edinburgh and Scotland’s Covid-19 recovery plan; and support up to 1,000 high quality, long term direct jobs and about 2,000 indirect jobs.

Launching the plans, Charles Hammond OBE, chief executive of Forth Ports, said, “We are committed to playing a significant role in the renewable energy sector and, through that, Scotland’s energy transition to net zero as we also tackle the challenges of Covid-19 recovery and economic regeneration. This is a pump-priming investment in logistics and marine infrastructure at the Port of Leith as we harness Scotland’s natural resources for future generations and has the potential to play a significant part in our forthcoming Firth of Forth Green Port bid.

“Leith’s proximity to the North Sea, which is set to become home to many more offshore wind developments, coupled with the natural deep waters of the Firth of Forth, makes this an ideal location to support not only those developments already planned, but the pipeline of projects that are sure to follow. That’s why we’re prepared to invest our land, our expertise and our shareholders’ money to further build and strengthen Scotland’s renewables supply chain to deliver new long-term jobs. Forth Ports is committed to both help make Scotland’s renewables future a reality and help it meet its carbon reduction targets.”

Cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport, Michael Matheson, added, “The Scottish Government has set ambitious targets to increase offshore wind capacity to 11 GW of energy installed by 2030 – enough to power more than eight million homes. This commitment, which will support our transition to a net-zero economy by 2045, capitalises on the fact that Scotland’s seas have some of the best offshore wind resources in the world.

“It is fundamentally important that the bold and necessary action required for us to reach net-zero is taken in a way that is fair and just for everyone. It must seize the economic benefits that will be created, supporting jobs and our wider society.

“This significant investment from Forth Ports to develop the Port of Leith places them in an ideal position to harness the offshore wind opportunities in the North Sea, creating good green jobs and supporting a just transition to net-zero – not just for the city of Edinburgh but the wider area and beyond.”

City of Edinburgh Council leader, councillor Adam McVey, commented,“Renewable energy plays a vital role in tackling climate change and in securing a bright economic future for everyone in our capital. The increase in jobs for people in Leith and across Edinburgh is hugely welcome and underlines our economic resilience as a city. The continuing regeneration of clean industry in the docks with the development of the Port of Leith Renewable Energy Hub is an important and welcome step in supporting the needed transition to a cleaner, greener future for the next generation.”