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Edinburgh’s Port of Leith gets major boost from latest offshore wind farm announcement

Posted: 21st January 2022

The Morven wind farm off the east coast, with a potential generating capacity of 2.9GW, enough to power more than 3 million homes, will be developed by BP Alternative Energy Investments and German partners EnBW.

And the Port of Leith’s vast new renewables hub will be crucial to getting the project under way. The huge components required for the wind farm will be loaded onto special vessels and transported to the site for installation.

The 860 square kilometres of seabed in the North Sea awarded to BP/EnBW was one of 17 sites handed out by the Crown Estate on Monday as part of the latest ScotWind leasing round for offshore wind sites around Scotland, raising nearly £700 million for the Scottish Government.

© New Leith outer berth with wind installation vessel.

BP and EnBW are also jointly developing up to 3GW of offshore wind in the Irish Sea, the Morgan and Mona projects.

The BP/EnBW partnership has already made some investment in the Port of Leith hub and will now invest further.

BP chief executive Bernard Looney said: “BP has a proud 100-year history in Scotland. We want to thank Crown Estate Scotland for the opportunity to now start a new chapter, helping Scotland continue as a global energy leader for the next 100 years.”

Forth Ports unveiled its plans for the £40 million hub on a 175-acre site at the waterfront in May 2021, forecasting to up to 1,000 direct and 2,000 indirect jobs. Work is expected to start mid-2022 and take around 18 months to complete.

It will be Scotland’s largest renewable energy hub, providing the infrastructure essential to accommodate offshore wind development, including a riverside marine berth capable of accommodating the world’s largest offshore wind installation vessels.

It will also feature a heavy lift capability of up to 100 tonnes per square metre, backed up by 35 acres of adjacent land for logistics and marshalling. This will be supplemented by the upgrading of a 140-acre cargo handling site.

Charles Hammond, group chief executive of Forth Ports, said: “Forth Ports is creating Scotland’s largest renewable hub at the Port of Leith, potentially supporting 3,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Forth Estuary net zero corridor, and this award supports this £40m investment in the Port of Leith Renewables Hub.”

Work on the wind farm is not expected to begin until 2025 at the earliest.

On a visit to Leith in November, Felipe Arbelaez, senior vice-president of zero carbon energy at BP, said the hub would be used as a marshalling area for the blades, towers and other components for the wind turbines, which would then be loaded onto the installation vessel and taken out to the North Sea.

He said setting up the wind farm would be expected to take three or four years, but said the project could mean activity at the renewables hub for decades to come.

Read more: Leith Renewables Hub is a bold vision of future – Liz McAreavey

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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