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Port of Aberdeen’s new £25 million upgrade is funding route ‘priority’

Port of Aberdeen was used by more than 700 vessels associated with offshore wind projects last year, including the Blue Tern, pictured.

Posted on April 3, 2024

Port of Aberdeen is a step closer to success in a Scottish Government-backed route to funding for a new £25 million investment in its facilities.

About £420m has already been spent on expansion, creating the new South Harbour.

But the historic port’s bosses are now eyeing a large slice of the supply chain “cake” as energy companies crack on with multiple offshore wind projects in the UK North Sea.

And they are seeking cash through becoming one of 10 “priority” projects earmarked for support from the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (Sowec) and its “strategic investment model” (Sim).

Sowec is a partnership between the Scottish public sector and offshore wind industry.

Its Sim programme is meant to streamline the route to funding.

A Port of Aberdeen spokesman told The Press and Journal the harbour’s bosses were “not putting all their eggs in one basket”.

We continue to bang the drum at every level of government.”

Other funding options are being explored, he said, adding: “We believe this is a project that really needs to happen.

“We continue to bang the drum at every level of government.”

Not doing so could mean a golden economic opportunity passing Aberdeen by, he said.

Aberdeen South Harbour.

Cromarty Firth and Nigg projects also on Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council’s list of priorities

Aberdeen’s harbour, established as a business in 1136, has joined the likes of Port of Cromarty Firth and Port of Nigg on a list of “priority” projects in the Sowec programme.

Port of Aberdeen chief executive Bob Sanguinetti said: “Sowec’s prioritisation of the South Harbour upgrade is a significant vote of confidence from both the Scottish Government and industry in our £420m expansion.

North-east’s ‘unrivalled’ supply chain

“Upgrading South Harbour for floating offshore wind will ensure the unrivalled energy supply chain in Aberdeen and wider north-east of Scotland can maximise the opportunities presented by ScotWind and Intog (two separate licensing rounds for offshore wind).”

Mr Sanguinetti added: “We’ll continue to make the case to the Scottish Government, UK Government, and industry that this is an opportunity that cannot be missed.”

Investments at Cromarty Firth and Nigg were named as “priority” projects in February.

Bob Sanguinetti, CEO at Port of Aberdeen.

Announcing the full list today, Sim working group chairwoman Gillian Morrison said: “Out of the 45 projects that applied to the Sim, we now have 10 priority projects identified.

“These are the projects seen as offering best opportunities for collaborative approaches between offshore wind developers, government agencies, investors, ports and supply chain companies to unlock investment.”

A further 19 projects have been selected to progress to stage two of the Sim scheme.

Our goal is to help each project accelerate and get the confidence it needs to reach final investment decision and commit to growth in Scotland.”

Ms Morrison said: ”In the weeks and months ahead, Sowec will work alongside the different projects, agencies and offshore wind developers.

“Our goal is to help each project accelerate and get the confidence it needs to reach final investment decision and commit to growth in Scotland.

Illustration of South Harbour dredging project.

“Through this shared ambition we can raise our sights and secure the investment we need for our supply chain.”

South harbour dredging plan

Port of Aberdeen’s latest upgrade plan for South Harbour includes a dredging project to deepen 2,460ft of quayside.

This is expected to deliver “suitable depth for the majority of ScotWind and Intog project turbine designs”.

The port’s spokesman added: “Comibined with South Harbour’s expansive laydown area and ultra heavy-lift capacity, the facility will support turbine integrations and foundation assemblies.

“Looking further ahead, it also positions the port to handle major component exchanges with tow-in, tow-out operations.”

Last year the port was used by more than 700 ships working on offshore wind projects.

This activity is expected to greatly increase, boosted by South Harbour’s strategic location near to Aberdeen’s new Energy Transition Zone and Floating Offshore Wind Innovation Centre.


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