Ardersier Port secures £100m credit boost from government-backed banks

A Highland port set to become an "offshore wind hub" has secured a £100m credit boost from UK and Scottish government-backed banks.

Haventus, owner of Ardersier Port in the Moray Firth, is currently redeveloping the 450-acre site between Inverness and Nairn.

It is hoped the transformation of the former McDermott construction yard will support future offshore wind projects across the UK and Europe in the transition to net zero, as well as enable the domestic decommissioning of aged North Sea oil and gas assets.

The development, part of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport site, is expected to open in 2025 and will support hundreds of jobs.

Work has already got under way at the site, which will include a new 650-metre quay wall and associated quayside.

Once complete, the site will have quayside access and infrastructure for the marshalling, integration, manufacture, and assembly of offshore wind components.

It will become the largest dedicated offshore wind deployment port facility in Scotland, capable of hosting and supporting gigawatt-scale projects.

In 2023, the project received £300m from Quantum Energy Partners.

Haventus has now secured a joint credit facility from the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) and UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB), with a £50m boost from each.

Lewis Gillies, Haventus chief executive, said the firm was "delighted" with the banks' support.

He added: "With their support, and that of Quantum, Ardersier Port is poised to become a critical offshore wind hub and an important job creator and enabler.

"It will play a crucial role in helping the country meet its net zero ambitions.

"With work now under way on site, we aim to have the facility open and operational in the second half of next year.

"This progress has been achieved in a very short period, due in large measure to the constructive engagement we have had with the Highland Council, our consenting agencies and regulators and government departments."

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The £100m investment is the first time SNIB and UKIB have co-financed a project since the two banks signed a memorandum of understanding formalising their close working relationship on projects like this.

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John Swinney, Scotland's new first minister, said the show of support from both banks demonstrated "huge confidence" in the development, which would help deliver a "fairer, greener future for everyone".

He added: "Scotland's growing offshore wind capabilities presents an era-defining opportunity - not only to achieve a just transition to net zero, but to harness the skills which lie across our energy sector and wider supply chain to create thousands of green jobs and transform our regional and national economies."

Andrew Bowie, UK government minister for nuclear and renewables, described Scotland as a "pioneer" in offshore wind technology.

He added: "The UK has a record on offshore wind it can be truly proud of, with the most installed capacity in Europe and home to the five largest operational windfarms off our shores."