Plans to create Scotland’s largest renewable energy hub at the Port of Leith have been unveiled by the project’s leader Forth Ports.
A £40m private investment will help create a 175-acre site featuring a bespoke, riverside marine berth capable of accommodating the world’s largest offshore wind installation vessels.
The facility will 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 lay down; assembly; supply chain and manufacturing opportunities.
Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports Charles Hammond said: “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.”
The project will support Scotland’s net zero carbon emissions targets. The Scottish Government aims to reach net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. Additional goals include meeting 50% of the country’s electricity, heat and transport demand from renewables by 2030. Scotland is currently less than half-way to meeting this goal.
Scotland failed to reach its 2020 goal of producing 100% of its electricity demand from renewable sources, reaching 97.4%.
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson said: “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.
“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.”
With existing offshore wind farm development plans and the Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind seabed leasing round still to come, offshore wind alone has the potential to create enough work for the renewables hub for the next 30 years.
In addition, the Port of Leith Renewable Energy Hub will help secure the Firth of Forth as a driver for Scotland’s green energy transition and support up to 1,000 long-term jobs, along with around 2,000 indirect jobs
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Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables Claire Mack added: “Scotland is at the start of its offshore wind journey, with plans to increase capacity tenfold in the coming decade. Ports and harbour infrastructure have an enormous role to play in the growth of that multi-billion-pound sector which, with support from government and industry, is likely to grow much more quickly than it has to date.
“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.
“The Scottish Government’s Sectoral Marine Plan contains many sites for floating wind development which, coupled with investments in infrastructure capable of handling the scale of floating turbine technology, mean we have a chance to gain a foothold in a market with enormous economic and export opportunities, particularly in the US and Asia.
“Scotland can truly lead the world in offshore wind, and today’s news from Leith is the first step in that journey.”