A MULTI-million pound deal to build offshore wind farm turbines, signed yesterday, marks a key boost in a drive to breathe new life into a Scottish port by establishing it as a key part of the renewables industry.

The contract will see Global Energy Group’s Nigg Energy Park in the Cromarty Firth produce turbines for the planned 84-turbine Beatrice offshore wind farm.

Work is scheduled to start in the spring of 2018. The project is expected to retain and create more than 100 direct and indirect jobs.

The deal is between Inverness-headquartered Global Energy Group and Siemens, who won the contract to supply turbines for Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL), a partnership between SSE, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and China’s state-owned SDIC Power.

Scotland’s Business, Innovation and Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse was at Nigg Energy Park for the signing. He said: “Offshore renewables represent a huge opportunity for Scotland, an opportunity to build up new industries and to deliver on Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction targets for 2020 and beyond.

“This contract will provide a very welcome boost to the local economy in Ross-shire and the wider Highland Council area. It is also an important milestone for the port of Nigg, which has received more than £45 million in investment since 2011 and is well on its way to being recognised as one of Scotland’s key energy ports.

“The Scottish Government is developing a new, overarching energy strategy for Scotland, which means developing a ‘whole systems approach’. This approach will consider Scotland’s energy supply and consumption as equal priorities, and we will build a genuinely integrated approach to power, transport and heat.

“Our strategy will make clear the Scottish Government’s strong commitment to the successful and sustainable development of Scotland’s offshore wind sector.” Global Energy Group chairman Roy MacGregor said: “We have been working hard and have invested huge amounts of money in developing Nigg Energy Park as a multi-energy site. I am pleased our hard work is beginning to come to fruition and would like to thank these new partners for having the confidence in us to support this massive project.

“Our hope is this new business relationship between us will lead to the support and development of other offshore wind farms, utilising Nigg’s extensive tailor-made facilities and supporting capability.

“I see this announcement as opening up Nigg as Scotland’s first major renewables hub. I also see this project, along with our ongoing work with Atlantis Resources on the wave and tidal turbines, and the suction anchors for Statoil’s Hywind project, as being a major step in showing everyone that Nigg Energy Park and the port of Nigg is a world-class facility.”

Scottish Renewables senior policy manager Lindsay Roberts said: “This contract will help breathe new life into this Highland port. Scotland’s offshore wind industry has huge potential for both our economy and our environment, and it’s great to see Nigg reaping the benefits.”

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks added: “The Beatrice offshore wind farm project alone will almost quadruple our offshore wind capacity, helping to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and support economic renewal.”