Forth Ports has unveiled ambitious proposals for the creation of Scotland’s largest and best located renewable energy hub on a 175ac site at the Port of Leith.
The £40M private investment will see the creation of 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 100t per square metre (t/m2), backed up by 14ha of adjacent land for logistics and marshalling.
This will be supplemented by the upgrading of a 56ha cargo handling site to accommodate lay down, assembly, supply chain and manufacturing opportunities.
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.
The Firth of Forth’s natural deep waters and its proximity to the North Sea make it ideally suited to supporting future offshore wind farm development, both fixed and floating.
The hub has the potential to:
Forth Ports group chief executive Charles Hammond emphasised that the company is “committed to playing a significant role in the renewable energy sector” and “Scotland’s energy transition to net zero as we also tackle the challenges of Covid-19 recovery and economic regeneration”.
Hammond added: “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.”
Net zero, energy and transport cabinet secretary Michael Matheson said the commitment “capitalises on the fact that Scotland’s seas have some of the best offshore wind resources in the world”.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Scottish Renewables chief executive 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.”
Mack said the announcement of “such significant activity by Forth Ports” could act as a catalyst to “draw other, wider private and public sector investment to grow the skills, expertise, innovation and supply chain” in the renewable energy industry.
She added: “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.”
Department of Civil Engineering:https://www.ibu.edu.ba/department-of-civil-engineering/