Ardersier Port: Europe’s first fully circular Energy Transition Facility

by David Fleschen

In the 1970s Ardersier – a vast and currently unused port 14 miles east of Inverness – was one of the largest oil rig fabrication yards in the world, employing up to 4500 workers. At over 400 acres (162ha) and with more than a kilometre of quayside, Ardersier is the largest brownfield port in the UK.

Now new owners are transforming Ardersier Port into Europe’s first fully circular Energy Transition Facility – recycling the oil rigs of the past to make foundations for future fleets of floating offshore windfarms. It is anticipated thousands of long-term jobs will follow.

Work is about to begin on a £20 million, nine-month ‘capital dredge’ – removing 2.5 million cubic metres of sand (equivalent to 1000 Olympic swimming pools) – which will open up the massive port once more.

Over the next five years the port’s owners will deliver:

  • an oil rig decommissioning facility,
  • a waste from energy recovery facility designed specifically to deal with special wastes
  • a £300 million green steel plant, powered by offshore wind and energy from waste
  • a concrete production plant utilising dredged sand from the port, and by products from the steel plant and energy from waste facility
  • a dedicated floating wind hub for concrete floating wind foundation manufacturing.

This will create the largest floating wind foundation fabrication, manufacturing and assembly facility in the UK – in an offshore wind market predicted to deliver 29,000 jobs and £43.6 billion to the UK economy by 2050.

Already Ardersier Port has an agreement with floating wind leader BW Ideol, guaranteeing them exclusive access to the port for the manufacture of their concrete floating wind foundations.

Source and Photo: BW ideol

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