Green freeport status for Aberdeen and Peterhead is expected to create 32,000 jobs and provide an economic boost worth £8.5 billion over the next decade.
Together with carbon capture and storage (CCS) plans for the region, the joint bid is also forecast to deliver better livelihoods and a big investment in net-zero infrastructure.
An “economic rationale” clause in the bidding rules – potentially allowing locations outside a 28-mile zone radius – means the North East Scotland Green Freeport (NESGF) may also include SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was urged to back the NESGF bid during her recent visit to Aberdeen.
Who are the consortium partners
The north-east bid consortium includes:
- Port of Aberdeen and Peterhead Port Authority.
- Aberdeen International Airport.
- Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council.
- Aberdeen University and Robert Gordon University.
- Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce.
- Opportunity North East.
- The Net Zero Technology Centre.
- CCS technology and infrastructure firm Storegga and ETZ, the firm driving forward plans for an energy transition zone in the Granite City.
What exactly will it deliver for the north-east?
- Achieving the status is expected to secure vital new trade and support the acceleration of innovation, diversification and decarbonisation of the region’s key economic sectors.
- It would build on recent major investment in the harbours in Aberdeen – £400 million in its case – and Peterhead, where there was a substantial upgrade and new fish market built.
- And it would help Storegga and the Scottish low-carbon “cluster” it is part of to accelerate their ambitious Acorn project to build CCS and hydrogen infrastructure at St Fergus, just a few miles north of Peterhead. Acorn missed out on “track one” funding from the UK Government last year but was selected as a “reserve” scheme.
- A proposal to establish a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) plant at St Fergus is a key plank of the bid to establish one of the new green freeports in Aberdeen and Peterhead. The SAF facility – which would make low-carbon aviation fuel from waste – is expected to create up to 920 jobs in Peterhead and be worth £133m to the north-east economy.
- It is also hoped a vehicle dubbed as “the most energy efficient car on the planet” could be built in Aberdeen, creating more than 800 jobs, on the back of green freeport status. Welsh company Riversimple, the designer of the Rasa hydrogen fuel cell-powered car is considering Aberdeen as a location to produce 5,000 vehicles a year – if the right incentives can be provided, including those available to companies and investors via a green freeport.