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Port of Cromarty Firth in the running for £160 million worth of UK government funding

By Scott Maclennan

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The Port of Cromarty Firth at Invergordon.
The Port of Cromarty Firth at Invergordon.

The Port of Cromarty Firth is one of two ports selected nationally to progress to the next stage of the £160 million UK government funding for the so-called Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS).

The move was warmly welcomed by the Port of Cromarty Firth at Invergordon which is a major part of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport that is expected to sustain thousands of jobs in the Highlands.

The port has huge expansion plans to deliver a site in the firth suitable for the construction of floating offshore wind turbines and news that it has reached the last two due for consideration is positive.

The other site is Port Talbot in Wales which aims to service the Celtic Sea offshore wind potential estimated at 4.5GW of electricity, the Port of Cromarty Firth has its eye on Scotwind with 27.6GW, though that is all around Scotland.

This week it was also confirmed that agreement with the Scottish Government had been reached to extend tax reliefs for Green Freeports by five years – a development initially announced in Jeremy Hunt’s budget.

It is the latest development that indicates the pace of development is steadily ramping up after the announcement of a major subsea cable factory at Nigg.

The chief executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth Bob Buskie welcomed today’s FLOWMIS announcement by the UK government, saying: “We are absolutely delighted to be one of two ports chosen nationally to progress to the next stage of this funding scheme.

“The offshore wind industry has made it clear that Port of Cromarty Firth is critical to the forthcoming large-scale expansion of the offshore wind industry, which is needed to deliver national energy security and net-zero commitments.

“Developers supported the Port in the region’s bid to become one of Scotland’s two Green Freeports and, earlier this year, selected the Phase 5 expansion as one of three Scottish projects chosen to progress in the SOWEC Strategic Investment Model (SIM).

“The proposed expansion, along with the SIM and the Green Freeport, will catalyse economic growth and create year-round jobs in green energy for many decades.

“Today’s announcement will provide certainty for offshore wind developers that the infrastructure they need will be ready in time to deliver their projects and will hopefully now unlock the other elements of the financial plan necessary to meet the Government’s due diligence requirements so that construction can begin.”

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