Port of Leith to become major renewables hub

CGI of advanced port

Forth Ports announces £40m in huge offshore renewables port.

Forth Ports has unveiled ambitious proposals for the creation of Scotland’s largest renewable energy hub on a 175 acre site at the Port of Leith.

This £40m private investment will see the creation of a bespoke marine berth capable of accommodating the world’s largest offshore wind installation vessels to support the ongoing expansion of offshore renewable energy installations in the North Sea.

Once built, the facility will feature a heavy lift capability of up to 100 tonnes per square metre, supported by 35 acres of adjacent land for logistics and marshalling. This will be supplemented by the upgrading of 140 acres allocated for a cargo handling site to accommodate lay down; assembly; supply chain and manufacturing opportunities.

Charles Hammond OBE, group chief executive of Forth Ports, said: “We are committed to playing a significant role in the renewable energy sector and, through that, Scotland’s energy transition to net zero as we also tackle the challenges of Covid-19 recovery and economic regeneration. This is a pump-priming investment in logistics and marine infrastructure at the Port of Leith as we harness Scotland’s natural resources for future generations and has the potential to play a significant part in our forthcoming Firth of Forth Green Port bid.”

Scotland has plans to achieve net zero by 2045 and offshore expansion will be a major feature in that ambition, so this investment in an advanced facility at Port Leith has been welcomed by the Scottish Government.

Cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport, Michael Matheson, said: “This commitment, which will support our transition to a net-zero economy by 2045, capitalises on the fact that Scotland’s seas have some of the best offshore wind resources in the world.”

The announcement also comes as Scotland is seeking to rebound economically from the pandemic, so the plans for 1,000 jobs at the port and around 2,000 more in supply chains, has been welcomed by nearby Edinburgh City Council.

Council leader, Adam McVey said: “The increase in jobs for people in Leith and across Edinburgh is hugely welcome and underlines our economic resilience as a City. The continuing regeneration of clean industry in the docks with the development of the Port of Leith Renewable Energy Hub is an important and welcome step in supporting the needed transition to a cleaner, greener future for the next generation.”

This project will be a wholly private sector investment of £40m, backed by Forth Ports’ shareholders.