Buchan Offshore Wind backs Cromarty Firth Freeport’s PowerHouse by joining Board

Buchan Offshore Wind Ltd., a global offshore wind consortium and winner of a 1GW ScotWind lease, has joined the board of The PowerHouse, the skills and innovation vehicle of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICF).

Buchan Offshore Wind is a partnership between BayWa r.e., a global renewable energy business with UK offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh; Elicio, an experienced Belgian offshore wind developer, owner and operator; and BW Ideol, a proven floating technology leader and international floating wind project co-developer.

The consortium brings together three highly experienced and complementary leaders with a demonstrated commitment to accelerate the development of locally built floating wind.

Buchan Offshore Wind also has the vision to bring significant levels of employment to Scotland and the Highlands having secured the rights to develop the floating Buchan Offshore Wind Farm, through Crown Estate Scotland’s latest ScotWind leasing round. Located 75km northeast of Fraserburgh, the wind farm will have a capacity of around 1GW, enough to power over 800,000 homes with green, renewable energy.

By joining the PowerHouse board, Buchan Offshore Wind is demonstrating its commitment to delivering skills for people across the region, to ensure they are ready for the opportunities to come, as well as to developing research and technology that will accelerate the floating offshore wind sector.

Nicholas Ritchie, Stromar Offshore Wind – Adam Hollis, Buchan Offshore Wind – Mina Hanna, Powerhouse and Bob Buskie, ICF Green Freeport

The Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport will maximise local and Scotland-wide benefits from a massive pipeline of renewable energy projects and skilled jobs, placing the Highlands at the heart of the drive towards net-zero.

Buchan Offshore Wind becomes the second wind consortium to join the board of The PowerHouse in recent weeks, following in the footsteps of Stromar Offshore Wind, the consortium comprising of Renantis, BlueFloat Energy and Ørsted.

Alasdair MacLeod, Project Director for Buchan Offshore Wind said: “At Buchan Offshore Wind, we are passionate about harnessing our combined experience to develop and deliver one of the world’s largest floating offshore wind farms off the northeast coast of Scotland. We see this development as a significant opportunity to maximise the output of clean, green renewable power, while strengthening the Scottish supply chain and supporting organisations, including the recently awarded Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

We believe the Cromarty Firth is perfectly positioned to continue to be a thriving hub for the renewables industry. The Green Freeport status will further the region’s potential, including building a pipeline of sustainable jobs that will benefit not only Scotland, but the UK.”

Bob Buskie, Director of The PowerHouse, speaking on behalf of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, said: “ICF is delighted that Buchan Offshore Wind is supporting the further development of regional skills and expertise by joining the board of The PowerHouse. With the experience that the alliance of BayWa.r.e, BW Ideol and Elicio bring, they will play a crucial role in the development of our plans.”

Port of Inverness – Driving forward the new Green Freeport

Port of Inverness is delighted to have played a key role in the successful Inverness and Cromarty Firth bid for Green Freeport status. As the celebrations abate, we’re now mapping out what the new Green Freeport will look like, what it will mean for the local economy and how we can maximise the benefits which will undoubtedly accompany our much-welcomed new status.

Several of the companies involved in the consortium behind the new Green Freeport are set to build wind farms off the north and east coasts, recognising the immense potential of the area for generating renewable energy and the opportunity that exists to build a world-class centre of excellence for the still emerging floating wind technology which allows wind turbines to be sited in deeper waters further offshore where the wind conditions are ideal for generating the maximum amount of green electricity.

The challenge will be to build these offshore projects in a sustainable way, keeping as much of the materials needed off the roads as possible. Port of Inverness and other ports and harbours across the country are set to play a vital role in decarbonising the supply chain for many of the upcoming offshore wind developments.

Research shows that shipping is by far the greenest and most efficient mode of transport. Compared to large trucks which emit on average 80 g of CO2 per kilometre and container trains which weigh in at 35g of CO2 emitted per kilometre, a large bulk carrier ship like the ones that call in at the Port of Inverness emits a meagre 2.5g of CO2 per kilometre travelled.

It seems logical then that shipping should play a major role in the new Green Freeport whilst also helping Scotland meet its stringent emissions targets. Moving goods by sea over short distances and without crossing oceans – short sea shipping as it’s known – currently accounts for roughly 40% of all freight moved in Europe. With one of the vessels that berths at Port of Inverness able to carry the same amount of goods as 100-200 trucks, transporting goods by ship is also far more efficient and cost-effective than road transport.

Like many other simple solutions to man-made issues short sea shipping has been around for hundreds of years. Establishing a modern-day sea motorway would help cut our climate damaging emissions but also result in smoother faster trade, reduced transport costs for businesses and easier stock control and management.

Shipping has already played a significant role in delivering renewable energy projects. With our extensive laydown areas and excellent road links, Port of Inverness has been the port of entry for several onshore wind farms over the years and our team have successfully delivered many projects all over the Highlands and Moray.

Our expertise can also be used to deliver other forms of green energy developments. As part of a move to address the issues of energy security and the intermittency of renewable energy production there are currently a number of pumped storage hydro schemes in the pipeline for the Great Glen. Acting in the same way as a very large battery, pumped storage hydro can be an important part of the energy generation mix, overcoming the problem of energy from wind only being produced when the wind is blowing.

As energy security becomes a more critical issue with the energy challenges resulting from the war in Ukraine, the importance of this traditional well-established technology which has been used in Scotland for decades is becoming clear. Again shipping has a vital part to play in ensuring these projects are built in an environmentally friendly way which ensures their benefits are not lost in the construction phase.

Port of Inverness is also home to, and joint owners of, the success story that is Inverness Marina. Full since the day it first opened, the financial benefits of Green Freeport status will allow us to move the marina slightly further up the Firth, extending it in the process and increasing the number and size of yachts it can welcome.

We also have plans to expand our cruise ship business, bringing more of the exclusive smaller cruise vessels to Inverness for a warm welcome in the Highland capital, from here visitors can easily travel to the many attractions on our doorstep, ensuring the economic benefits from our new Green Freeport status benefit businesses all around the Highlands.