SSE backs build of UK’s largest wind tower factory

SSE has announced it is to back the build of what will be the UK’s largest wind tower factory.

The firm is to make a debt investment of £15 million into the ‘state-of-the-art’ offshore turbine tower tubular rolling manufacturing plant in the Highlands.

It said that the Nigg Offshore Wind (NOW) will be capable of rolling steel plate to supply towers in excess of 1,000 tonnes each – with the facility being 450m long.

Once operational, SSE said the NOW plant will support the creation of up to 400 new full-time direct manufacturing jobs as well as more than 1,800 indirect jobs in the UK – with an estimated 1,100 being in Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, “We need bold, collective action to tackle the global climate emergency, and the growth of our renewables sector over the next ten years will be truly transformative, helping to deliver a just transition to net zero and a greener, fairer future for us all. This significant investment in Scotland’s energy sector is testament to the skills, expertise and innovation within our industry.

“We are delighted to financially support this cutting edge offshore wind towers facility, through Highlands & Islands Enterprise, as it reaches this significant milestone, that will deliver high value, green jobs and bring multiple benefits to communities across the Highlands and beyond while playing a pivotal role in delivering offshore renewables growth in Scotland and further afield.”

SSE added that the new facility is the ‘most significant’ localisation of offshore wind supply chain manufacturing ever seen in Scotland and the UK. The announcement marks the culmination of over two years of close planning between SSE’s development business SSE Renewables, Global Energy Group and Haizea Wind Group to make the new facility a reality.

The project is due to enter construction in January 2022, subject to reaching financial close by year-end. Site preparation, construction and commissioning is expected to take around 18 months, supporting 1,248 FTE job years across the supply chain in building works and equipment supply.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO of SSE, said, “Today’s announcement shows that SSE is willing to put its money where its mouth is to support development of the Scottish manufacturing capability for the offshore wind sector. We have worked with Global Energy Group and stakeholders for over two years to get to this point. Global Energy Group has exciting plans for a world-class tower factory at Port of Nigg and our investment in the planned manufacturing facility demonstrates our continuing commitment to do what we can to support the development of a competitive Scottish supply chain and create local jobs.

“In addition to the debt funding, SSE also looks forward to fulfilling its role as a strategic backer and placing orders with the factory to meet our growing offshore wind pipeline in the near future. SSE is in a unique position with projects of scale, such as Dogger Bank and Berwick Bank, to create sustainable, long-term supply chain opportunities such as at Nigg and the new GE blade factory in Teesside.”