Action Notes of East Sutherland and Edderton, Cromarty Firth, Tain and Easter Ross Joint Ward Forum held on 13 December 2011, Duthac Centre, Tain
Cllr. Ian Ross (Chair) Highland Council
Cllr. Jim McGillivray Highland Council
Cllr. Maxine Smith Highland Council
Cllr. Mike Finlayson Highland Council
Cllr. Fiona Robertson Highland Council
Cllr. Alasdair Rhind Highland Council
Alastair Kennedy Global Energy
Martin Johnson Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Roy Kirk Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Geoff Robson Highland Council
Helen Ross Highland Council
Phil Tomalin Highland Council
Approx 120 members of the public
1 Opening Remarks – Cllr Ian Ross
• The purpose of the meeting is to hear about the plans and opportunities brought about by Global Energy’s (GE) acquisition of Nigg Yard
• GE acquisition of the site is welcome and resolves a long running issue
• Effective public sector partnership between Scottish Govt, HIE and HC
• Development of the site and impact on employment and skills base is welcome, but need to ensure wide access to the skills development opportunities, esp. given current concern about youth unemployment
• Context of Highland economy - there are problems due to slow down but also good news including expanding business in Cromarty Firth at CFPA and Port Services as well as further afield in Lochaber and Caithness.
2 Developments at Nigg - Alastair Kennedy, Global Energy
Background to Global
• Worldwide operation with 4300 employees and turnover of £216m, aiming for turnover of £500m by 2015
• A Highland business: provides 1 in 5 manufacturing jobs in H&I economy; 19 of 20 major suppliers based on Scotland, £51m spent in 09/10 in Scotland
• Range of clients inc many household names
• Areas of operation inc: surface and sub sea operations; renewable energy; marine assets; engineering and integrity; infrastructure
• Five facilities in Cromarty Firth: Deephaven, Evanton, Invergordon (2) and now Nigg, as well as facilities in Aberdeen and Firth of Forth.
Nigg Energy Park
• GE acquired Nigg on 20 Oct 2011
• What’s the plan?
o Understand the market - oil, gas renewables; skills and training requirements
o Programme of site upgrading
o Secure customers and investors
• Next 3-5 years
o Oil and gas - rig inspection/repair, topside fabrication; sub sea modules; rig conversion and modification; oil storage
o Renewables - offshore wind; on-site demonstrator wind turbine; turbine manufacture; wave and tidal fabrication; R&D; on site power generation.
Overview of site
• Upgrading required to parts of site inc. quayside, buildings, dock use based around wet quayside model, offices, car park
• Site will be organised into 4 areas (but final uses driven by market demand):
o Multi-sector assembly and lay-down zone
o Manufacture / assembly/ lay-down for offshore wind
o Manufacture/ assembly/ lay-down for marine renewable
o Business park
• All subject to planning permissions etc. (inc demonstrator turbine).
Community concern regarding demonstrator turbine - GE seeking to work with the community, but turbine important for R&D.
3 HIE Perspective on Developments at Nigg - Martin Johnson, HIE
• HIE is Scottish Govt Economic Development Agency for Highland and Islands
• Energy is one of 6 key sectors with particular focus on renewables
• Offshore wind/wave/tidal present significant opportunities.
• Joint HIE/HC Master plan
• A rare opportunity to develop such a site
• National Renewables Action Plan - promoting integrated manufacture (tower, turbines and blades).
• UK and Scottish Govt target offshore renewables
• Opportunity to develop industrial base for H&I
• Crown Estate Round 3 leases offer potential for 9.6GW capacity by 2020 requiring £30bn capital investment and potentially 28,000 direct jobs in Scotland
• All main equipment suppliers have visited Nigg and are impressed with potential of site
• Potential of site already demonstrated by assembly of Beatrice turbines at Nigg.
• 10 devices currently testing wave/tidal potential off Orkney - largest concentration of demonstrators in the world
• Opportunity for Nigg to supply if market develops
• Wave tidal opportunity for up to 1.6GW capacity by 2020 and1500- 5000 jobs.
• Jobs - in time 1500 -2000 jobs from various employers operating out of Nigg - if the market develops, and if inward investment is attracted onto the site.
• Investment - inward investment in Highland economy
• Supply chain opportunities
• Also impact on housing, schools, transport - requires involvement of public and private sector
• Roy Kirk added the importance of the development at Nigg to wider travel to work area inc Caithness and Sutherland.
4 HC Perspective on Developments at Nigg - Geoff Robson, HC
• Structure Plan
• Highland-wide Development Plan
• Easter Ross Local Development Plan - soon to be replaced by Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan.
• National Renewables Infrastructure Plan and N-RIP2 identify Nigg, Ardersier and Kishorn
• Nigg Development Master plan
• Nigg Strategic Environmental Assessment
• Nigg Appropriate assessment
• Flood risk assessment - site clear for at least 25 years
• Environmental designations need to be addressed /taken account of.
• Nigg Energy Park Master Plan
• Pre application advice
• Major application – will require community consultation
• Vacant and Derelict Land Fund - £1.2m Scottish Govt funding used to support clear up of sites so they can be brought back into use. Subject to Scottish Govt agreement, funds have been allocated to Longman (Inverness) and Nigg.
Supply Chain and workforce
• Supply chain
• Developer needs and requirements
• Workforce requirements – potentially to manufacture and service up to 500 offshore turbines starting from 2015/16
• Skills and training needs
• Competition – stiff but demand likely to outstrip supply.
• National significance
• Potential of site
• Catalytic and springboard for wider economy and development of H&I
• Sustainable potential.
5 Question and Answer Session
Training and Skills - Despite cuts to college budgets, courses at North Highland College and Inverness Colleges in engineering subjects are over subscribed.
• The bottleneck in industry training is recognised
• HC/HIE meeting with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) indicates additional resources will be made available e.g. targeted at young people and open to wider workforce
• GE meeting with funders who recognise need to pump prime training activities.
How soon will people be taken on?
• GE are already receiving CV’s – contact details to apply are on GE website - but opportunities will take time to materialise.
How can local small businesses seek opportunities in supply chain?
• GE have already approached by 23 local companies seeking to engage
• GE has wide capabilities so will pick up some of the work.
• GE keen to support local supply chain but where public money is being used strict procurement procedures will need to be followed.
How soon training /apprenticeships for younger people?
• Difficult to give timescale but progress expected by spring 2012,
• Given current demand for fabrication skills, private and public sector need to work together to get training going and link with job opportunities
• HC/SDS looking at smaller firms to take on apprentices with larger firms providing the training element
• Renewables angle helps justify the public sector training investment.
Of 2,000 potential employees how many are expected to be local? How many people will be required for support services? Where will people live?
• Travel to work area generally regarded as being 1 hour’s travel i.e. Beauly, Nairn, Helmsdale
• Regarding housing there is plenty of land already allocated in Local Plans and more available if required. Extra demand for house building would be very welcome to support the construction industry
• GE only likely to create 500 or so jobs over next 2 years. Remaining 1500 will be provided by the renewables companies or others investing in Nigg Energy Park
• There is an ambition for the highlands - people living in growing well designed and vibrant communities.
Is the demo turbine really required?
• The decision will balance commercial value and environmental considerations
• Planning process will require engagement with communities. Met mast will go up first if planning permission is granted.
How is GE engaging with young people?
• GE already involved with initiatives inc. STEM but early days for Nigg
• STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths) a UK programme seeking industry /school partnerships to raise awareness of career opportunities in STEM subjects
• GE looking to develop links with local schools and colleges.
GE is a global business, but using “landlord” strategy at Nigg – why not get GE firms in to Nigg to get things going rather than relying on others?
• Total investment required for Nigg is beyond GE alone, however GE requires return on the investment already made in purchasing and redeveloping the site. This means GE will be operating at Nigg from mid 2012.
Concerns about traffic. Is there an opportunity for liaison group with local communities?
• There will be an effort to minimise disturbance, but there will be an increase in traffic.
• Plans to use as much rubble etc as possible on site so reducing traffic.
• Removal of material from site and deliveries by sea rather than by road
• GE happy to engage with communities and tot discuss concern with Community Councils or individuals
• Inner Moray Firth Plan - communities can engage at Local Plan development stage
• Transport Scotland will require traffic studies as part of planning process.
What gives Nigg the competitive edge?
• Location - proximity to Beatrice and expanding Moray Firth renewables all within one day’s sailing
• Deepwater quay and graving docks are not available at other sites
• 365 day operation, site well protected by Sutors
• Demand out-stripping supply - existing suppliers unable keep up.
Final Summary Points
• Public sector working hard in partnership with industry and training providers to support this development
• Wish to spread benefit throughout the Highlands
• GE is a local company, committed to Highlands.
6 Close of Meeting
The Chair gave vote of thanks and closed the meeting at 9.30