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Ports and Supporting Infrastructure

The North of Scotland's long maritime heritage, coupled with over 40 years experience servicing the offshore oil and gas sector, means that there are already a number of port sites and their associated supply chain infrastructure operating in the Orkney, Caithness and Sutherland areas suitable for servicing the marine energy industry.

A number of these ports are already utilised by developers who are currently testing wave and tidal devices at EMEC in Orkney, hosting most of the leading technologies in the field.  Investment totalling over £36m has already been either incurred or committed towards enhancements to the area port infrastructure, in direct response to the requirements of the marine energy industry.

These improvements are designed to cater both for ongoing test and demonstration activity at EMEC, as well as in preparation for the deployment of devices on a commercial-scale, as the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters (PFOW) leasing round sites come on stream.

National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (N-RIP)

The National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (N-RIP) drawn up by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise during 2010 identified the ports around the North coast and around the islands which are going to be key to the future development of marine renewable energy in northern UK waters.

A further follow-up study has been initiated aimed at identifying the specific fabrication, assembly and operation and maintenance requirements of those developers taking forward projects under the PFOW leasing round and demonstration projects elsewhere in Scottish waters (e.g. Saltire Prize candidate projects); and pinpointing further specific port investments required to meet these project needs.

Examples of current port upgrades include the port of Scrabster, the most northerly commercial port on the Scottish mainland. Scrabster is currently undergoing a £20m expansion to provide additional quayside, laydown areas and associated facilities geared towards the needs of marine developers. The work on-site is due to be completed by mid-October 2012.

Meanwhile, on Orkney, the local authority has completed a £3m initial phase of the redevelopment of the former naval base at Lyness on Hoy, which is currently used by developers testing prototype devices at EMEC's test sites. Further expansion of this key facility, located within the 50 square mile natural harbour of Scapa Flow, will take place in response to developer demand.

First phase of work completed at Lyness, Hoy

The commercial harbour at Hatston, near Kirkwall, has been undergoing an £8m expansion during 2012 to provide dedicated port facilities for marine developers undertaking projects to the north and west of the PFOW area. This development by Orkney Islands Council is being augmented by an investment of c.£3m by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which is close to completion of a property development at Hatston, providing bespoke accommodation for tidal technology developers testing at EMEC's Fall of Warness test site.

All three of the sites mentioned above are part of the Low Carbon / Renewables North Enterprise Area which allow a range of business incentives which will help to accelerate the rate of development of key supply chain activities linked to the commercialisation of wave and tidal technologies.


The explore programme provides news, case studies, supply chain industry database, and details about the growing energy industry in the Highlands and Islands...