Hunterston Parc owner Peel Ports Clydeport has signed an option agreement with XLCC for a major facility to include two factories producing “state-of-the-art” high voltage cabling for use in the subsea transmission of renewable energy.
The plan also includes the construction of research and development labs, offices, stores, electrical infrastructure and a high-tech cable delivery system, taking over almost a quarter of the land available for development at the former ore and coal terminal.
XLCC has instigated the planning process with North Ayrshire Council and a planning application is expected to go before committee in February. If consent is given work would begin in April, with hundreds more jobs created during the construction phase.
The schedule is for test lengths of cable to be made by April 2023, with 200 jobs in place at the start of that year. Full manufacturing production would be underway by November 2024 with the remaining 700 jobs in place before then.
The development requires investment in the order of £370 million for buildings and plant, with another £200m for a commissioned specialist ship capable of transporting the heavy cable reels. The vessel would be shared with a third XLCC factory planned for Wales.
Peel Ports Clydeport director Jim McSporran said: “We are very excited by the signing of this option, which if realised would result in many hundreds of high-quality jobs in one of Scotland’s highest unemployment areas.
“Our vision for Hunterston Parc, launched last year, was for the redevelopment of 300 acres to create a nationally significant energy and marine campus, bringing together leading industry operators, world-class universities and the latest innovators, and to deliver technological advances in areas such as power generation and aquaculture.
“The technology which is to be developed by XLCC would be a game changer for deep sea renewable energy transmission and certainly falls into our vision remit.
“While the scope of the development would give us an anchor tenant, we are also close to other major deals currently under non-disclosure agreements. Hunterston is a site with a level of infrastructure assets unique to the UK and possibly Europe, and we believe its time has come.