Thousands of jobs are in the pipeline under £40 million plans to create Scotland’s largest renewable energy hub in Edinburgh.
Proposals by Forth Ports would see the development of a riverside marine berth capable of accommodating the world’s largest offshore wind installation vessels on a 175-acre site at the Port of Leith.
The company claims the plans could create 1,000 direct, long-term jobs and 2,000 indirect jobs and have received backing from the Scottish Government, local authority leaders as well as green industry figures.
Charles Hammond, group chief executive of Forth Ports, said: “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.”
The facility, subject to licensing approval, is aimed to be completed by Q3 2023.
It 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 would be supplemented by the upgrading of a 140-acre cargo handling site to accommodate assembly, supply chain and manufacturing opportunities.
Energy Secretary, Michael Matheson, said: “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.”
Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, added: “Scotland is at the start of its offshore wind journey, with plans to increase capacity tenfold in the coming decade.
“The announcement of such significant activity by Forth Ports is hugely welcome and will act as a signal to draw other, wider private and public sector investment to grow the skills, expertise, innovation and supply chain we need to make the most of this exciting next phase of the renewable energy industry’s development.”