Ardersier wind 'super-hub' nod

The Scottish government has given the go-ahead to the Port of Ardersier on the Moray Firth to be transformed into a “super-hub” for offshore wind manufacturing.

The port’s chief executive Steve Gobbi says the green light from the Scottish government and regulators Marine Scotland and Transport Scotland was a “major milestone” for the 162-hectare former oil fabrication yard.

“There are few, if any, vacant sites of this scale in the northern North Sea offering deep water access and the potential to undertake manufacturing, assembly, operations, maintenance and decommissioning from a single location.

“We now have the all-clear to commence site works and undertake major dredging which will see the port open for business next year.”

The site, located 24km east of Inverness in northern Scotland, has a 1km deep-water quay and is ideally placed to service projects off Scotland’s east coast.

Among Ardersier’s strongest claims to becoming such an offshore wind hub is its proximity to the Moray Firth and Beatrice projects, consented by the Scottish government in mid-March.

Formerly known as the McDermott yard, the brownfield site at Ardersier was built on reclaimed land during the 1970s, and was a significant fabrication facility during the North Sea oil boom.

Operational for nearly three decades, and with 4,500 employees at its peak, the yard was closed in 2001.

Gobbi says the Port of Ardersier is now ideally placed to offer the acres of space and deepwater quays offshore wind farms will require. “Offshore wind could generate thousands of new jobs in the Highlands, with ports as the key,” he adds.

Ardersier will now compete with a number of other Scottish ports for offshore wind fabrication work, including Leith, Dundee, Nigg and Methil.