Location plea

Highlands ‘better HQ than Aberdeen’ for GB Energy

Colin Marr: signatory

Highlands economy leaders want the Labour government to base its new GB Energy company in the region and have hinted that Aberdeen would be the wrong choice.

They have written to UK Energy and Net Zero secretary Ed Miliband arguing that the new industries emerging in the are make it the ideal location for the publicly-owned green power company.

The letter is signed by the chief executives of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, together with a director of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Their case is based on the Prime Minister’s plan for GB Energy to drive the transition to clean energy and they make it clear – without naming Aberdeen – that “other parts of Scotland” may present competing proposals, but “will be primarily based on current energy generation, not on the generation of the future.

“As such, any other location is likely to find itself distanced from UK energy generation and associated manufacturing in the near to mid future.”

The signatories to the letter are: Colin Marr, chief executive of the Inverness Chamber of Commerce, together with: Derek Brown, Chief Executive, Highland Council; Stuart Black, Chief Executive, Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Alison Wilson, Director of Economic Development and Advancement, UHI; and Calum MacPherson, Chief Executive, Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

The letter:

Dear Mr Miliband 

GB energy headquarters and the Highlands of Scotland

Congratulations on the Labour party’s UK election victory and on your appointment as Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.

We were pleased to hear the government confirm their plans to create GB Energy and to locate the headquarters in Scotland. We are writing to outline why the Highlands of Scotland is the best location for the headquarters.

As you will be aware the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICFGF) is attracting significant international investment in assembly and manufacturing facilities to accelerate offshore wind power for the UK. A significant proportion of the UK’s wind power, both on and offshore, and the majority of pumped hydro storage schemes will be located in the Highlands of Scotland. Therefore, following transition, the majority of the UKs clean energy will be generated in the Highlands.

Our unique geography—with deep water, large sheltered ports, and inland areas ideal for pumped hydro storage—makes the manufacture and installations required for the energy transition feasible only in our region; it cannot and will not happen elsewhere in the UK.

Through ICFGF we are attracting inward investment at an astonishing rate and anticipate £3.5bn of energy related investment and a further £12bn of investment in grid infrastructure over the coming years.

We therefore invite you to give serious consideration to locating the headquarters of GB Energy in the Highlands of Scotland. While other parts of Scotland may present competing proposals, they will be primarily based on current energy generation, not on the generation of the future. As such, any other location is likely to find itself distanced from UK energy generation and associated manufacturing in the near to mid future. Locating such a vital institution in the north of Scotland would also be a powerful statement as to how central Government can benefit the whole UK in terms of spend and employment.

We would be delighted to welcome you to Inverness and to show you the scale and speed of investment in energy transition in both ICFGF and across the Highlands as a whole.

We look forward to hearing from you.



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