Developers hope that the £40 million investment will help underpin Scotland’s green economic recovery and shift to a net zero future.
The plans will see the creation of a riverside marine berth capable of accommodating the world’s largest offshore wind installation vessels. Up to 1,000 “high quality, long-term direct jobs” are expected to be supported by the hub, alongside 2,000 indirect jobs.
The proposed facility will feature a heavy lift capability of up to 100 tonnes per square metre, backed up by 35 acres of adjacent land for logistics and marshalling. This will be supplemented by the upgrading of a 140-acre cargo handling site.
The total area is equivalent to about 100 full-size football pitches.
Charles Hammond, group chief executive of site owner Forth Ports, said: “We are committed to playing a significant role in the renewable energy sector and, through that, Scotland’s energy transition to net zero as we also tackle the challenges of Covid-19 recovery and economic regeneration.
“This is a pump-priming investment in logistics and marine infrastructure at the Port of Leith as we harness Scotland’s natural resources for future generations and has the potential to play a significant part in our forthcoming Firth of Forth Green Port bid.”
He added: “Leith’s proximity to the North Sea, which is set to become home to many more offshore wind developments, coupled with the natural deep waters of the Firth of Forth, makes this an ideal location to support not only those developments already planned, but the pipeline of projects that are sure to follow.
“That’s why we’re prepared to invest our land, our expertise and our shareholders’ money to further build and strengthen Scotland’s renewables supply chain to deliver new long-term jobs.”
Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland is at the start of its offshore wind journey, with plans to increase capacity tenfold in the coming decade.
“Ports and harbour infrastructure have an enormous role to play in the growth of that multi-billion-pound sector which, with support from government and industry, is likely to grow much more quickly than it has to date.
“The announcement of such significant activity by Forth Ports is hugely welcome and will act as a signal to draw other, wider private and public sector investment to grow the skills, expertise, innovation and supply chain we need to make the most of this exciting next phase of the renewable energy industry’s development.”
Scottish secretary for net zero, energy and transport, Michael Matheson, added: “It is fundamentally important that the bold and necessary action required for us to reach net zero is taken in a way that is fair and just for everyone.
“This significant investment from Forth Ports to develop the Port of Leith places them in an ideal position to harness the offshore wind opportunities in the North Sea, creating good green jobs and supporting a just transition to net zero – not just for the city of Edinburgh but the wider area and beyond.”