Up to 900 jobs created in Hunterston through world first renewable energy project

A render of the new facility in Hunterston, North Ayrshire

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PLANNING permission has been granted on a new manufacturing facility in Scotland – producing HVDC cables for what will be the world’s longest subsea infrastructure for the Morocco – UK power project. The infrastructure forms part of an ambitious initiative that will power seven million UK homes by 2030.

Leading independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard has been acting as lead consultant on the project, appointed by HVDC subsea cable manufacturer XLCC.

The new facility, in Hunterston, North Ayrshire, will produce four 3,800km long cables, connecting solar and wind energy all the way from the Sahara to the UK, as part of the Xlinks project.

Once operational, the brownfield site is expected to support up to 900 jobs, with thousands more generated in the wider supply chain.

Santosh Patel, director at Pick Everard, said: “We’re excited and proud to be involved in creating a new high tech green industry for the UK and supporting the drive towards Net Zero.”

“From a manufacturing perspective, it will see undersea cables created to a length not previously seen, while consumers will be able to benefit from a much lower unit cost for their energy once the project is fully implemented. Net zero requires huge expansion of solar and wind to be a success, and XLCC stands to help deliver in this respect.”

XLCC’s manufacturing operation in Hunterston will meet the UK’s growing demand for high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) power transmission.

Landowners at Hunterston have thrown their support behind the scheme, with work transfer opportunities expected to be provided for local employees, following the decommissioning of Hunterston’s B power nuclear station after 46 years.

As well as acting as lead consultant, Pick Everard has provided complete design services, as well as health and safety consultancy, BIM coordination and BREEAM assessments. Now, the firm is expected to continue to act in a technical advisory capacity, with construction on the new factory expected to commence in early 2023.

Mark Colby, partner at Pick Everard, said: “We are focused on delivering better together with our cross-industry partners, achieving excellence in everything we do. This particular project sees us – together with the wider project team – delivering a scheme that benefits everyone from the local community through jobs to the whole planet through its sustainable elements.”

Project director for XLCC, Alan Mathers, added: “We look forward to delivering a factory of great local and international importance for HVDC subsea cable. The UK will be positioned as a world leader in the green economy, with the site at Hunterston playing a key role in connecting cheap, green energy from renewables projects around the world.”

Pick Everard employs more than 600 staff across its 15 offices, providing a range of project, cost, and design consultancy services. For more information, please visit https://www.pickeverard.co.uk.

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