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Highlands and Islands Enterprise: infrastructure investment

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Oilfield Technology,

Audrey MacIver, Head of Energy at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, sets out the rewards the Highlands and Islands is set to reap from major infrastructure investment.

A bid to establish the Highlands and Islands as the epicentre of innovation in the energy industry has been boosted by a multi-million-pound investment in ports and harbours infrastructure by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

A strategic programme of investments saw HIE, along with public and private sector partners, support the upgrade and maintenance of a series of ports and harbours to increase productivity and flexibility amid changing market conditions. As a result, the most northerly region of the UK has achieved some global “firsts”.

Audrey MacIver said: “HIE has made significant and strategic investments into key infrastructure sites across the region. This activity has resulted in a wide range of innovative energy projects coming to our shores and provides the local supply chain with excellent opportunities. We will continue to support new and existing organisations to take full advantage of these prospects and reap the rewards generated from these investments.”

Shetland’s deep-water base Dales Voe is set to become a world-renowned decommissioning centre of excellence, thanks in part to HIE’s investment of £1.2 million towards a £11.9 million project by Lerwick Port Authority. The unique facility is now poised to take advantage of the multi-billion pound decommissioning industry and attract oil and gas projects from the North Sea.

Orkney has invested millions into waterfront developments. HIE supported the islands’ £20 million Three Port Strategy, which comprised the redevelopment of Copland Dock in Stromness, Lyness Harbour in Hoy, and Kirkwall’s Hatston Ferry Terminal. Highlights include the construction of Copland Dock’s 100 m quay and facilities to support demonstration technologies at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC); the world’s first and only grid-connected and accredited testing facility for full-scale wave and tidal energy devices.

Another key component in Scotland’s renewables infrastructure, the strategically-located Scrabster Harbour, on the north coast of the mainland, has become established as an oil and gas port following HIE’s investment of £7.9 million. With the major upgrades, Scrabster Harbour received 88 vessels and a gross tonnage of 500,000 between 2014 - 2015; demonstrating its potential of becoming a one-stop supply chain solution for Atlantic Frontier activities.

Wick Harbour is involved in the world’s first large-scale deep-water offshore wind farm, the SSE-led Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm (BOWL), which HIE supported with an investment of £240 000 to develop the Operations and Maintenance hub. This project will deliver a range of socio-economic benefits to the local community, including training for young people through a partnership with The University of the Highlands and Islands and future job creation. Approximately 890 people will be employed during its construction and once operational, around 90 staff will be required to safely maintain and operate the wind farm throughout its 25-year lifespan.

Arnish Development Park, on the north-west coast, is a key multi-sectoral site that has benefited from more than £8 million of investment from HIE. It now has investor-ready plots available and offers a manufacturing, assembly and deployment hub for both the renewable energy and oil and gas sectors. Tenants, BiFab recently won a multi-million pound contract with one of BOWL’s Tier 1 suppliers, Seaway Heavy Lifting, to provide a total of 28 jackets for the offshore wind farm development.

Having received substantial financial support from HIE for the phased redevelopment, Nigg Energy Park acts as a strategic base for the £51 million tidal stream MeyGen project, the world’s first commercial-scale, grid-connected tidal array energy farm.

HIE has contributed towards the £500 000 investment into the redevelopment of the dry dock at Kishorn which will support future opportunities in oil and gas, decommissioning and renewables. These works could render the site well-placed to become a global competitor in the energy sector.

HIE is confident that this strategic programme of infrastructure investments will deliver significant opportunities to create a sustainable and successful industry.

Audrey MacIver is Head of Energy at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the economic and community development agency for the north and west of Scotland.

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