Scottish energy company Global Energy Group (GEG) has finalised terms with offshore wind tower manufacturer Haizea Wind Group to build a £110 million ($146 million) offshore wind tubular rolling facility at Port of Nigg in the Scottish Highlands.
Nigg Offshore Wind (NOW) will be a 450-meter-long, 38,000m2 factory, capable of rolling steel plate to supply towers that will weigh in excess of 1,000 tonnes each to the UK offshore fixed and floating wind industry in the UK and abroad.
The facility has been designed to supply towers and other components suitable for both the fixed and floating offshore wind markets and will integrate cutting-edge robotics and welding inspection technology originally developed for the offshore oil and gas industry.
Regional staff historically employed in the oil and gas industry will have the opportunity to be re-trained and upskilled at the Nigg Skills Academy to allow them to operate the machinery required to roll these giant structures.
Subject to achieving financial close, the NOW factory will receive financial backing of £15 million ($20 million) in debt from SSE Renewables, along with senior debt being provided by Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund. Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power will also provide £5 million ($6.4 million) in debt, and will be a strategic partner in the long-term development of the facility.
The factory is expected to receive funding support from the Scottish Government via Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the UK Government via the offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are delighted to financially support this cutting edge offshore wind towers facility, through Highlands & Islands Enterprise, as it reaches this significant milestone, that will deliver high value, green jobs and bring multiple benefits to communities across the Highlands and beyond while playing a pivotal role in delivering offshore renewables growth in Scotland and further afield.”
The UK Government has committed to 40GW of installed offshore capacity by 2030, however, according to GEG, the country currently does not have a factory capable of producing towers to the specification required for future planned projects by leading fixed and floating developers.
The Port of Nigg rolling facility will be capable of producing up to 135 towers per year, as well as transition pieces, suction buckets and bespoke tubular structures for the floating offshore wind market in the UK and abroad.
Tim Cornelius, CEO of GEG, commented: “The announcement today of a state-of-the-art tower rolling factory at the Port of Nigg can and will be a leading example of the ‘green recovery’ in action. It will create more than 400 direct long term, high-value jobs, and will offer our existing clients and new customers from around the world the opportunity to buy ‘Scottish’ – meaning offshore wind developers can achieve their local content targets whilst helping the UK economy recover in a green and sustainable way.”
Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO of SSE, said: “Today’s announcement shows that SSE is willing to put its money where its mouth is to support the development of the Scottish manufacturing capability for the offshore wind sector…
“Global Energy Group has exciting plans for a world-class tower factory at Port of Nigg and our investment in the planned manufacturing facility demonstrates our continuing commitment to do what we can to support the development of a competitive Scottish supply chain and create local jobs. In addition to the debt funding, SSE also looks forward to fulfilling its role as a strategic backer and placing orders with the factory to meet our growing offshore wind pipeline in the near future.”