UK’s largest offshore wind tower factory set to create 400 jobs
5 Minute Read
Global Energy Group, the Scottish headquartered energy services company, has announced today that it has agreed terms with leading offshore wind tower manufacturing specialist, Haizea Wind Group, to build a £110m-plus state-of-the-art offshore wind tubular rolling facility at Port of Nigg, located in the Scottish Highlands.
Nigg Offshore Wind (NOW) will be a giant, 450-meter-long, 38,000 m2 factory, capable of rolling steel plate to supply towers which will weigh in excess of 1,000 tonnes each and other products, to the booming UK offshore fixed and floating wind industry in the UK and abroad.
The facility has been designed to supply towers and other large tubular components suitable for both the fixed and floating offshore wind markets. Whilst the initial contracts for tower supply will focus on UK domestic supply, it is anticipated that the factory will be in high demand for export of towers and other products as well due to the rapid rate of planned offshore wind deployment across Europe up until 2050.
The factory design will integrate cutting edge robotics and welding inspection technology originally developed for the offshore oil and gas industry. Regional staff historically employed in the oil and gas industry will have the opportunity to be re-trained and upskilled at the Nigg Skills Academy to allow them to operate the machinery required to roll these giant structures.
Tim Cornelius, CEO of GEG, commented:
“The announcement today of a state-of-the-art tower rolling factory at the Port of Nigg can and will be a leading example of the ‘green recovery’ in action. It will create more than 400 direct long term, high-value jobs, and will offer our existing clients and new customers from around the world with the opportunity to buy ‘Scottish’ – meaning offshore wind developers can achieve their local content targets whilst helping the UK economy recover in a green and sustainable way. The facility will also create more than 1000 indirect jobs in the Scottish and UK supply chain. We are delighted to be partnering with Haizea who will bring their tower manufacturing expertise and knowledge to the Highlands of Scotland.”
The UK Government has committed to 40GW of installed offshore capacity by 2030, bringing overall UK wind capacity to over 50GW. At the current size of turbine used in the market, that means the UK needs more than 3,000 towers to reach this ambitious target. However, the UK currently does not have a factory capable of producing towers to the specification required for future planned projects by leading fixed and floating developers.
The Port of Nigg rolling facility will be capable of producing up to 135 towers per year as well as other important structures for the offshore wind industry such as transition pieces, suction buckets and bespoke tubular structures for the exciting floating offshore wind market in the UK and abroad. The cost of the new facility, inclusive of rolling machinery robotics and a new blast and paint shop is £110 – 120m. The new factory is an enabler to firmly establish the Port of Nigg as a strategic offshore wind hub which includes the consolidation of the Port’s existing marshalling and staging work for turbine components and foundations (the marshalling and staging work already employs over 120+ people).
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said:
“We need bold, collective action to tackle the global climate emergency, and the growth of our renewables sector over the next ten years will be truly transformative, helping to deliver a just transition to net zero and a greener, fairer future for us all. This significant investment in Scotland’s energy sector is testament to the skills, expertise and innovation within our industry. We are delighted to financially support this cutting edge offshore wind towers facility, through Highlands & Islands Enterprise.”
Subject to successfully achieving financial close, the NOW factory will receive substantial financial backing totalling £15m in debt from SSE Renewables making the renewable energy leader the largest single UK-based strategic backer behind the NOW plans, along with senior debt being provided (subject to due diligence and approvals) by Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund. Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power is a key lender in the funding syndicate, proving £5 million in debt, as well as a strategic partner in the long-term development of the facility.
The factory is expected to receive funding support from the Scottish Government via Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the UK Government via the offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme. UK Government funding is subject to the completion of ongoing due diligence.