The UK’s largest offshore wind tower factory will create more than 400 manufacturing jobs when it opens in Scotland in 2023, a spokesperson for lead partner Global Energy Group said.
The Port of Nigg factory, to be known as Nigg Offshore Wind (Now), will be capable of producing up to 135 towers per year.
The site, north of Inverness, will be 450 metres long and will cover an area of 38,000 square metres, equivalent to more than five football pitches.
The £110m project is a joint operation between Global Energy Group (GEG), which has its headquarters in Inverness, and Spanish offshore wind tower manufacturing specialist Haizea Wind Group.
Tim Cornelius, chief executive of GEG, said: “The continued focus on a just transition to a carbon neutral economy has received fresh impetus as a result of the impact of Covid-19.
“The Scottish and UK governments are looking for opportunities presented by the now inevitable energy transition from a dependency on hydrocarbons to clean and sustainable sources of energy, to create jobs and generate sustainable economic growth.
The announcement of a state-of-the-art tower rolling factory at the Port of Nigg is said to be a leading example of the “green recovery” in action.
“It will create more than 400 direct long term, high-value jobs, and will offer our existing clients and new customers, from around the world, the opportunity to buy ‘Scottish’ – meaning offshore wind developers can achieve their local content targets whilst helping the UK economy recover in a green and sustainable way.
“The facility will also create more than 1000 indirect jobs in the Scottish and UK supply chain.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Haizea who will bring their tower manufacturing expertise and knowledge to the Highlands of Scotland.”
A GEG spokesperson added that construction is expected to start in January next year, with site preparation and commissioning expected to take about 18 months.
This will support 1248 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs across the supply chain in building works and equipment supply.
GEG added that regional staff, historically employed in the oil and gas industry, will have the opportunity to be re-trained and upskilled at the Nigg Skills Academy.
The factory is expected to receive funding support from the Scottish Government via Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the UK Government via the offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We need bold, collective action to tackle the global climate emergency, and the growth of our renewables sector over the next 10 years will be truly transformative, helping to deliver a just transition to net zero and a greener, fairer future for us all.
“This significant investment in Scotland’s energy sector is testament to the skills, expertise and innovation within our industry.
“We are delighted to financially support this cutting edge offshore wind towers facility, through Highlands & Islands Enterprise.”
The Now factory is expected to receive backing from SSE Renewables, Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power.
SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “Today’s announcement shows that SSE is willing to put its money where its mouth is to support development of the Scottish manufacturing capability for the offshore wind sector.
“We have worked with Global Energy Group and stakeholders for more than two years to get to this point.”