Work gets under way to create riverside berth at Leith Renewables Hub

23/05/2023
George Harris (Section Engineer from GRAHAM) at the site of the construction of Leith's new riverside berth

FORTH Ports’ creation of Scotland’s largest renewables hub at the Port of Leith takes a major step forward this month with the start of construction works for the new riverside marine berth at the port. 

Forth Ports’ ambitious £50m project in Leith will create Scotland’s largest renewable energy hub on a 175-acre site – supporting Scotland’s economic recovery, energy transition plans and the achievement of the country’s net zero carbon emissions targets.

The bespoke riverside berth will be capable of accommodating 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 logistics, marshalling and manufacturing. Working with specialist contractors, GRAHAM, the berth is being created immediately outside the port’s lock gates, meaning that vessels do not need to enter the locked port itself, leading to faster ship turnaround times and the ability to accommodate larger vessels. Works began in January on the marine and land-side port infrastructure upgrades, with completion expected in summer 2024.

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, bringing up to 50,000 high-quality green jobs by increasing trade and supporting the growth of businesses across the Firth of Forth.

Commenting on the project, Charles Hammond OBE, Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports, said: “The work under way in Leith will pave the way for Scotland to maximise the supply chain value and jobs from the ScotWind offshore wind leasing round. We are committed to playing our part in making Scotland’s renewables future a reality and the construction of this new berth in Leith is a significant step forward.

“Our major investment in Leith’s logistics and marine infrastructure will be crucial to the success of the Forth Green Freeport*. With existing and future offshore wind farm development plans in the North Sea, this renewables hub has the potential to support offshore wind construction projects for the next 30 years.”

Leith’s proximity to the important North Sea offshore wind sites, coupled with the natural deep waters of the Firth of Forth and existing skills base, makes the port a strong location to support planned developments, as well as the anticipated pipeline of ScotWind projects, both fixed and floating. The Leith Renewables Hub has the potential to:

·         Make a major contribution to Scotland achieving its 2045 net zero greenhouse gases target

·         Secure the Firth of Forth as the driver for Scotland’s just energy transition

·         Support up to 1,000 high quality, long term direct jobs and about 2,000 indirect jobs to Leith specifically

·         Further underpin the position of Scotland’s Central Belt as a leading area of engineering and manufacturing skills and capabilities.

As the Port of Leith transitions to become Scotland’s premier renewables hub, the Harbour 31 development planned elsewhere in the port will see the regeneration of land adjacent to FirstStage Studios, providing a place to live and work, for both creative and green jobs. The port will also benefit from the new Edinburgh Trams  extension.

This month, Forth Ports also outlined its commitment 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 to help accelerate the UK’s path to a decarbonised economy. 

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