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Tidal device boost for Scrabster

Energy North

Scrabster is already beginning to reap the rewards of its multi-million-pound harbour redevelopment geared towards the energy industry. 

Orkney-based Scotrenewables Tidal Power Ltd chose the Caithness port as the location for operations and maintenance work on its prototype tidal turbine, the SR250.

It was the first tidal device to arrive in Scrabster since the ports 20 million infrastructure redevelopment.

The device was towed from Orkney by Scotrenewables Ltd, in a seven hour operation during the first week of August and stayed there until the 12th. The contract lift was undertaken by Caithness firm Hugh Simpson Ltd.

It was hailed a positive example of joint working and of closer links between supply-chain companies in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Park area, coming two months after the re-development was completed.

Barry Johnston of Scotrenewables Tidal Power Ltd said: “We are delighted to be using the facilities and expertise at Scrabster Harbour.

“This highlights the cost-effectiveness and mobility of our turbine which is unique in that we can easily tow it to the maintenance equipment and facilities rather than have the expense of mobilising the equipment to the turbine.  We are therefore able to use facilities on both sides of the Pentland Firth.

“The local contractors and harbour staff at Scrabster have been a pleasure to work with.”

Willie Calder, chairman of Scrabster Harbour Trust, said “It is extremely exciting that the new pier has come into life within the renewables industry so early by hosting and Orcadian tidal device from Scotrenewables.”

“Scrabster harbour is ideally placed to capitalise on the marine renewable activity in the Pentland Firth and oil and gas development west of Shetland, and this confirms our strategy is the correct route.”

Mr Calder described the supply-chain businesses in Caithness as “exceptional” and said they had demonstrated their skills and expertise with a range of recent developments.

“Despite being in the early stages of our redevelopment, we have seen a rise in the volume of oil-related activities over the last couple of months with platform supply and subsea operations vessels for the oil and gas industry already using the new pier, proving our facilities are versatile and suitable for all aspects of the energy market,” he said.

Scrabster Harbour Trust manager Sandy Mackie described the SR250 contract as “a positive and promising move” for the port.

“This is good news for us and gets us on the map, he said.  “It also puts the message out that Scrabster is open for work in the renewables field.”

He said the work on the 100-ton, 33-meter device involved routine operations and maintenance.

Mr Mackie added: “The significant thing is that the industry will realise there is an opportunity available at Scrabster.  We hope this will be the first of many such projects.

“The company was very happy with the facilities here and the service it received.”

Mr Mackie said the port was also attracting oil and gas-related work from developments west of Shetland.

“There have been a number of large mobilisation and crew changes and all the customer feedback has been very positive,” he said.

The developments as Scrabster are supported by the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Calum Davidson, HIE’s director of energy and low carbon, welcomed the news.  “To see companies from both sides of the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park working together to build on the opportunities emerging in offshore renewables is extremely exciting, and a solid demonstration of the real business benefits that this emerging industry can bring,” he said.

“The investment in Scrabster harbour is now reaping the rewards for local firms and work such as this cements the reputation of both Caithness and Orkney as being at the forefront of global marine renewables research.”