Thousands of jobs could be created in the coming years through work created off the back of a new multi-million pound offshore windfarm contract secured by a Highland port.
Global Energy Group yesterday signed a deal with Siemens confirming their role in the construction of the £2.6bnillion, 588 Megawatt Beatrice windfarm to be operated by Scottish and Southern Energy.
Global’s base at Nigg yard will be used as a reception and assembly centre and load-out point for the 84 7MW turbines, with work expected to start in Spring 2018.
It emerged yesterday that the work will result in the retaining and creating of more than 100 direct and indirect jobs, along with released supply chain opportunities.
The existing oil and gas industry workforce at Nigg also possess transferable skills for offshore wind turbine construction.
Gobal Energy Group chairman Roy MacGregor, who has invested £45million in the past five years to upgrade facilities at Nigg, including new deep-water berths, said that it was the “beginning of a new era” and believes it “will be the first of many contracts” for the yard.
He added: “It’s been talked about for a long time but until you have seen that last contract you worry when it’s going to come, but now it’s coming and I think it will lead to the support and development of other offshore windfarms, utilising our facilities at Nigg.
“The number of jobs created could be into the four figures. It just depends on some of the consents and designs for other windfarms because there is still some uncertainty there”.
Scottish Council for Development and Industry regional director for the Highlands & Islands, Fraser Grieve, said: “Today’s announcement of Nigg’s involvement in the Beatrice Offshore wind project shows the positive economic impact that this major development will have on the region over the coming years.
“Nigg, and the wider Cromarty Firth, has much to offer and this agreement is not only a boost for the Global Energy Group but will benefit the supply chain through the area.”
Scotland’s Business Innovation and Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, also visited Nigg yesterday for a tour of the the yard. He said: “This contract arising from installation of the Beatrice offshore windfarm will provide a very welcome boost to the local economy in Ross-shire and the wider Highland Council area”.
Beatrice windfarm will produce 598Mw of electricity, equivalent to powering £450,000 homes, and will be the second largest offshore windfarm in the world.
Nigg currently employs about 700 people and at its peak during the booming oil and gas days it employed about 2,500.