A dry dock in Western Ross will be used for the first time in almost a quarter of a century to help build a massive floating wind farm.
Last used to work on the Skye Bridge in 1994, the Kishorn dry dock is one of the largest in Europe. It will now be used during the construction of floating turbines for Kincardine Offshore’s development off the coast of Aberdeen.
Work at the site is due to start in August following the deal between Kishorn Port and Kincardine Offshore, with the first turbine of the 50 megawatt array expected to be in the water in the second quarter of next year.
Project director Carlos Barat said: “This is a significant development for the people of Kishorn and will directly lead to the creation of up to 200 much-needed jobs in the area.
“We are proud that we are able to support local business as we progress towards bringing this important development forward. Today’s agreement to use Kishorn dry dock will herald a new era for offshore renewables and, of course, for this area as the terrific potential this facility offers the country is realised.”
The dock has huge potential, not just for renewables, but for oil and gas and aquaculture tooRobert Muir
Kishorn Port director Simon Russell added: “The combination of Leith’s on-site quarry at Kishorn with one of the largest dry docks in western Europe makes the yard an ideal location for manufacturing large concrete structures.
“This, combined with the expertise of Ferguson Transport & Shipping in operating and managing the port, will breathe new life into an area that has suffered for many years from a lack of commercial investment.”
Kishorn Port was historically an oil and gas fabrication yard, used for the casting of the 600,000-tonne Ninian Central platform in the late 1970s. The last time the port’s two 13,000-tonne dock gates were moved was in 1994, when the two concrete foundation caissons for the Skye Bridge were floated out.
The Scottish Government last month approved plans for the construction of Kincardine’s eight-turbine wind farm.
The floating development will harness enough energy to provide for almost 56,000 homes and prevent CO2 emissions of more than 94,500 tonnes a year.
Lindsay Roberts, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Kishorn’s transformation from an oil and gas hub to renewables reflects a diversification which is being seen across the energy industry as a direct result of continued investment in green energy projects.”
Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) has invested £158,932 towards the £450,000 cost of upgrading the dry dock in readiness for new contracts.
HIE’s area manager for Skye, Lochaber and Wester Ross, Robert Muir, said: “It is great to see Kishorn coming to life again. The dock has huge potential, not just for renewables, but for oil and gas and aquaculture too.
“The site will provide valuable rural jobs and contribute to both economic and community growth, and wider competitiveness of the region. We very much welcome this milestone today.”