Home   News   Article

Highland ports join new Scottish alliance to drive offshore wind development

By Philip Murray

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
An offshore wind farm.
An offshore wind farm.

Leading ports from across the Highlands are among those across Scotland to have joined forces to launch a new alliance to capitalise on offshore wind opportunities.

The Scottish Offshore Wind Ports Alliance (SOWPA) is being hailed by its backers as “a progressive and collaborative forum of the country’s leading infrastructure facilities” and it targeted at “optimising the opportunities from offshore wind”.

Numerous Highland ports are among the 13 ports that have formed the alliance. These include Kishorn Port, the Port of Nigg, Ardersier Port, Port of Cromarty Firth, Port of Inverness and Scrabster Harbour.

The alliance says it is actively developing opportunities to enhance regional competitiveness, drive efficiencies and fast-track the required expertise to support the UK’s burgeoning offshore wind industry.

It said this will be achieved through collaboration and shared knowledge, which it hopes to use to “optimise large-scale operations and address common and complex industry challenges,.

Iain Sinclair, Executive Director at Global Energy Group, said: “It is widely recognised that ports have a critical enabling role in the industrialisation and deployment of offshore wind in the UK. Today’s announcement demonstrates that ports are motivated to take the initiative, work proactively and diligently together, and align with the whole offshore wind ecosystem, to maximise the localisation of the supply chain requirements.

“SOWPA’s collective capability, knowledge and expertise is a world leading value proposition. We have a willingness and appetite to enhance our competitiveness, address supply chain challenges and deliver against Scotland and the UK’s offshore wind ambitions.”

Sinclair added: “The ports recognise the scale of the potential opportunity on the horizon and are making significant investments aimed at delivering optimised port infrastructure solutions for offshore wind. We can and want to do more, and this is best achieved by aligning the required enabling infrastructure, with industry needs.

“The crucial role of Scotland’s Green Freeports also cannot be understated. They will be essential in attracting inward investment and paving the way for new supply chain opportunities, which will have a catalytic effect on the pace of deployment. However, the enormity of the market opportunity and challenges that come with it, will require ALL of Scotland’s capable ports and their available capacities, to be engaged in the infrastructure plans.”

Minister for Climate Action Gillian Martin said: “Scotland’s ports are crucial in helping unlock our huge offshore wind potential, and private investment – stimulated by up to £500 million of Scottish Government backing over the next five years – will be critical to the continued growth of the sector.

“Partners across the sector and wider supply chain have already shown a strong appetite to take a strategic and collaborative approach to delivering investment in ports, manufacturing and fabrication, and the establishment of the Offshore Wind Ports Alliance will ensure that, collectively, our world-leading infrastructure facilities are optimised to deliver our offshore renewables revolution.”

With ambitions to develop 30GW of offshore wind capacity over the next 10 years through the ScotWind leasing round, the new alliance says that tge future project pipeline will put “substantial pressure on Scottish port capacity due to the significant infrastructure requirements needed to support its efficient deployment”.

And the alliance’s members say its launch provides a “clear signal” to industry on their members’ willingness to work together with the collective ambition to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind and support the national energy transition.

Claire Mack, Chief Executive at Scottish Renewables, said: “We are delighted to support SOWPA who are bringing together our best expertise and capabilities in port operations here in Scotland. The global opportunity in offshore wind is huge. Alongside attracting investment to Scotland this alliance will give us the ability to share experiences and expertise meaning our offer to industry is truly excellent.

“We’ve already seen multi-millions of pounds in private sector investment go towards creating world-class facilities which will provide the cornerstone to industrial growth zones in and around our ports for decades to come.”

As well as the already named Highland ports, the new alliance includes representation in the islands through Lerwick Harbour, the Orkney Harbour Authority, and Stornoway Port.

Other Scottish signatories include the various ports and harbour authorities in Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Aberdeen, and Montrose.

The new SOWPA website (www.sowpa.co.uk) features up to date technical data on the port facilities, including an overview of both the existing and planned infrastructure developments. This will provide project developers and potential inward investors with essential information on the current and future landscape of Scotland’s offshore wind port capacity and capabilities.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More