A JAPANESE company is preparing to build a large factory in the Highlands to make sub-sea high-voltage cables.

Sumitomo Electric manufacture the cables which are used to connect hundreds of offshore wind turbines now being planned for Scottish waters.

The announcement was made during a visit to Japan by Energy Secretary Neil Gray.

The firm’s factory in Osaka has already manufactured and installed sub-sea links between England and Belgium.

The locations, scale and the number of jobs required for the Highland plant have not yet been revealed.

The Scottish Government has said it was working closely with Scottish Development International and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to advance Sumitomo’s presence in Scotland.

Gray is currently on a three-day trade mission to develop relationships with companies across the renewables and supply chains sectors.

He said: “Today’s announcement from Sumitomo demonstrates the strength of confidence investors have in our vision for a net zero economy.

“The company has a proven track record in high-voltage underground cables which will be invaluable to supporting Scotland’s rapidly expanding offshore wind sector.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work alongside Scottish Development International and Highlands and Islands Enterprise will continue to work closely with Sumitomo to foster this important partnership.”

Gray added that Scotland has a “world-beating pipeline of offshore wind projects” and that his visit had helped to “demonstrate the important role played by Scotland’s international network”.

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Sumitomo’s president, Osamu Inoue said: “We are delighted to work with the Cabinet Secretary to build a state-of-the-art submarine cable factory in Scotland.

“Sumitomo Electric has the technologies necessary for the development of a green society and will work with the Scottish and UK Governments and other stakeholders on future offshore wind power and interconnector projects in the region.”