Secretary of State for Scotland visits Scotland’s largest renewables hub

Left to Right: Secretary of State for Scotland The Rt. Hon. Alister Jack MP with Cameron Salmond, Forth Ports Mechanical Engineering Apprentice, Reece Ferguson, Forth Ports Electrical Engineering Apprentice, and Stuart Wallace, Chief Executive Designate, Forth Ports

THE Secretary of State for Scotland, The Rt. Hon. Alister Jack MP, has toured the nation’s largest renewables hub at the Port of Leith as the new riverside berth reaches a significant construction milestone.

Primed by an initial £50 million private investment by the port’s owner, Forth Ports, Leith will deliver Scotland’s largest renewable energy hub on a 175-acre site – supporting Scotland’s energy transition plans, boosting local supply chains, creating new, high quality green jobs and making a significant contribution to the country achieving its net zero carbon emissions targets.

The Secretary of State was at the construction site of the bespoke riverside berth, which is being built by GRAHAM, with the piling and the creation of the foundation for the massive platform completed last month. Mr Jack oversaw the start of the installation of the pre-cast concrete sections which will create the surface of the heavy lift riverside berth. Over the next month, the team will install 108 sections which have been cast on site and constructed with an engineered lower carbon concrete.

Once completed this summer, the berth will be able to accommodate the world’s largest offshore wind installation vessels and will feature a heavy lift capability of up to 100 tonnes per square metre (t/m2), backed up by 175 acres of adjacent land for associated renewables logistics, marshalling and manufacturing.

The renewables hub in Leith is linked with Forth Ports’ ambitious plan to create a high-capacity FLOW (floating offshore wind) integration facility at the Port of Burntisland in Fife, taking advantage of the deep water, infrastructure and skills benefits of the Forth Estuary, as well as the Forth Green Freeport investment incentives package.

The Leith Renewables Hub will be part of the Forth Green Freeport’s strategically located tax and customs sites, which aim to reindustrialise central Scotland, generating thousands of high-quality green jobs by increasing trade and supporting the growth of businesses across the Firth of Forth.

Charles Hammond OBE, Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports, who hosted the Secretary of State today, said: “We welcome the Secretary of State’s visit to see for himself the scale of the renewables hub we are creating in Leith. We are transforming the port into Scotland’s largest renewables hub and, coupled with our vision to create a FLOW facility in Burntisland, we will advance the country’s delivery of a green economy rich in skilled employment and new infrastructure.

“Our investment in Leith is crucial to the success of the Forth Green Freeport, which has the potential to support offshore wind construction projects and the hydrogen economy, and create local manufacturing content, local jobs and skills development for the next generation.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “It was a real pleasure to visit Forth Ports today to see progress on the construction of their new renewables hub. The project will make a huge contribution to our energy transition, as well as boosting local supply chains, creating new jobs and giving the local economy a real boost. 

“UK Freeports, and the tax breaks which go with them, encourage regional economic growth by promoting trade, investment and jobs. I am very pleased that the UK Government has brought two to Scotland, as well as two Investment Zones. They are a key part of the UK Government’s strategy to grow Scotland’s economy.”

In 2023, Forth Ports launched its Net Zero Plan and the actions it is taking to achieve a Net Zero carbon operation by 2042.  The company, which is Scotland’s biggest port operator, also outlined an interim target of achieving carbon neutral emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 2032, while creating an infrastructure platform – like Leith and Burntisland – to accelerate the UK’s path to a decarbonised economy.

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