Onshore planning consent has been given by the local council for the Port of Ardersier to transform a 160 hectare (400 acres) site into a manufacturing, assembly and operations and maintenance base for new offshore wind fields off Scotland’s east coast. The site’s owners are now awaiting similar positive signals from the government and regulators Marine Scotland and Transport Scotland for the offshore elements of the site. These consents could be in place in the coming weeks, creating a potential jobs boom for the Highlands.
The large vacant site alongside a 1 kilometre deep water quay could be turned into a purpose built yard. Given its location – 15 miles east of Inverness – it is ideally placed to take a slice of the estimated £70-80 billion UK offshore wind construction market.
“This is a significant milestone for the Port of Ardersier” said Port of Ardersier Chief Executive Officer Captain Stephen Gobbi. “Once all consents are in place we will be able to undertake major dredging which could enable the port to be open for business this year. There are few other deep water ports in the UK, or indeed Europe, which offer this quality and quantity of vacant land, a 1000 metre deep water quay and proximity to the major offshore wind development zones in the North Sea.”
Captain Gobbi added that the port is continuing to work closely with the regulators to ensure the harbour revision order and marine licence are secured.
According to Calum Davidson, Director of Energy at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the port has the potential to become a major European energy manufacturing and assembling facility.
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