Global Energy Group (GEG) has agreed terms with Spain-based offshore wind tower manufacturing specialist Haizea Wind Group to build a state-of-the-art offshore wind tubular rolling facility, costing £110-120 million (€129-141 million), at the Port of Nigg in the Scottish Highlands.
With substantial financial backing from SSE, Mainstream Renewable Power and others, the Nigg Offshore Wind (NOW) facility will be able to produce up to 135 towers a year for the offshore wind industry, as well as other structures such as transition pieces and suction buckets. It will also produce bespoke tubular structures for the floating offshore wind market, which is expected to boom, with over 30GW already in the pipeline for Europe alone.
Initial supply contracts will focus on UK domestic projects, GEG said, but it expects the factory to be in high demand for exports across Europe. The new facility 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, it added.
Tim Cornelius, CEO of GEG, said: "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 the opportunity to buy ‘Scottish’ – meaning offshore wind developers can achieve their local content targets while helping the UK economy recover in a green and sustainable way."
The facility will also create more than 1,000 indirect jobs in the Scottish and UK supply chain, he added.
Artist impression of the factory, which is expected to start producing towers in 2023
Without the support of SSE, “this factory would not be built”, Cornelius said. Subject to successfully achieving financial close, SSE is providing £15 million in debt for the plant, while senior debt will be provided by Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund.
The project is due to start construction in January 2022, subject to reaching financial close by year-end. Site preparation, construction and commissioning is expected to take around 18 months, supporting 1,248 full-time job years across the supply chain in building works and equipment supply, according to SSE.
The factory is expected to produce the first towers in 2023.
"As a strategic backer behind the plant, SSE Renewables will be placing manufacturing orders with the factory from its leading pipeline of large-scale UK offshore wind projects. SSE Renewables expects to announce a first order contract with NOW in the near future," the Scottish utility said. SSE's projects include the 3.6GW Dogger Bank hub off east England (a JV with Equinor and Eni) and the up to 4100MW Berwick Bank Wind Farm (formerly Berwick Bank and Marr Bank) Berwick Bank Wind Farm (formerly Berwick Bank and Marr Bank) (4100MW) OffshoreFirth of Forth, UK, Europe Click to see full details.
Mainstream Renewable Power is a key lender in the funding syndicate, providing £5 million in debt, as well as being a strategic partner in the long-term development of the facility. Further funding support for the factory is expected from the Scottish government via Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the UK government via the offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme.