New funding

State banks pump £100m into Ardersier wind project

Work under way on the vast Ardersier Port

Ardersier Port near Inverness has secured £100 million from two state-owned investment banks that will underpin its transformation into a key renewables facility.

The Scottish National Investment Bank, funded by the Scottish Government and UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB), its Westminster equivalent, have each provided £50 million to Haventus, the energy transition facilities provider, and owner of the port which benefits from tax relief through the green freeport.

The financing follows a £300 million capital commitment announced in 2023 by leading energy investment firm Quantum Capital Group, when Haventus began the redevelopment of Ardersier Port.

The facility will underpin the creation of a nationally significant infrastructure facility to support industrial-scale deployment of fixed and floating offshore wind.

Haventus has taken a final investment decision and construction has now begun on the site, which includes the development of a new 650-metre quay wall and associated quayside.

Based in Moray Firth, Ardersier Port will support offshore wind developers and manufacturers of offshore wind components and equipment, as the c.35 GW of ScotWind and INTOG project pipeline is built out.

As a tax site within the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, Ardersier Port will offer a 450-acre site with quayside access and suitable infrastructure for marshalling, integration, manufacturing, and assembly of offshore wind components. It will be the largest dedicated offshore wind deployment port facility in Scotland, capable of hosting and supporting gigawatt scale projects.

Once operational, the facility will significantly increase the offshore wind port capacity, to support the transition to net zero. As one of the largest industrial regeneration projects in the Highlands in decades, the development will re-establish the port as a major local employer, supporting and creating hundreds of jobs.

turbines
Ardersier will play a key role in the wind offshore industry

Haventus chief executive, Lewis Gillies, said: “We are delighted to have secured the support of the two banks as important partners in this nationally significant project. 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 underway 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.”

Michael MacDougall, partner, Quantum Capital Group, said: “Quantum is delighted that the banks have chosen to work alongside us. From the outset, we were impressed by their leadership, thought partnership, and diligent effort to help us deliver a facility that will create significant benefit in terms of regeneration, support for net zero transition, and creation of new employment.

“This project shows how private capital can work successfully with banks to provide critical infrastructure and in particular suitable facilities to support decarbonisation of Scotland and the UK.”

The two banks recognise the strategic significance of Ardersier Port in the renewables sector, and this is the first project to be financed between the banks, who recently announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise their close working relationship on projects like this.

The Scottish National Investment Bank CEO Al Denholm said: “We expect the site at Ardersier to be of significant strategic importance in supporting the growing offshore wind industry over the coming years.

Al Denholm
Al Denholm: supporting offshore growth

“We are pleased to fund this development and to be doing so with the UK Infrastructure Bank. The project perfectly aligns to our net zero mission and illustrates the benefits of our two organisations working together.”

UK Infrastructure Bank CEO, John Flint said: “Vast investment is needed in port infrastructure by 2030 in order to fully realise the potential of offshore wind. This is a great opportunity to support this crucial sector, alongside the Scottish National Investment Bank, in what will be a nationally significant project for the UK energy transition, while also helping to grow the local Scottish economy.”

First Minister John Swinney said: “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.

“The Ardersier Port redevelopment, which is central to the ambitions of the ground-breaking Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, exemplifies this opportunity.

John Flint: great opportunity

“This show of support from both banks demonstrates the huge confidence in this new facility and its role in helping deliver a fairer, greener future for everyone.”

Secretary to the Treasury Gareth Davies said: “This latest deal in Scotland’s growing clean energy sector is another example of the UK Infrastructure Bank delivering on its mandate to tackle climate change and boost regional growth. Not only is this investment another important step towards our net zero transition, but it will support hundreds of jobs and grow the economy.”

UK Government Minister for Nuclear and Renewables Andrew Bowie MP said: “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.

“Scotland is a pioneer in this important technology, and infrastructure investment of this size is a welcome boost to our clean energy targets, while supporting the local economy with new jobs and opportunities.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont said: “It’s fantastic news that the first project to be financed between the UK Infrastructure Bank and Scottish National Investment Bank is the transformation of the Ardersier site into the largest dedicated offshore wind deployment port facility in Scotland.

“Working together with the private sector, the funding will deliver regeneration which will boost the UK’s path to net zero while supporting and creating hundreds of jobs, investing in skills and growing the economy.

“With this project, and as a tax site within the UK Government-backed Inverness and Cromarty Firth freeport, Ardersier Port has an exciting future. I look forward to both banks working together again to help deliver further transformational projects.”

Professional advisers

Brodies was lead legal adviser to Ardersier Port, parent company Haventus, and equity provider Quantum Capital Group, and Pinsent Masons was lead legal adviser to the Scottish National Investment Bank and the UK Infrastructure Bank on the £100 million senior debt financing. Dickson Minto is corporate legal adviser to Quantum and Haventus.



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