Minister of State Charles Hendry is visiting the Highlands & Islands of Scotland to see first-hand how the region’s plentiful energy resources are being harnessed.
The Minister began his visit with a tour of Global Energy Group’s site at NIGG. Nigg is a large scale fabrication site developed in the 1970s for the North Sea oil and gas industry.
For 25 years Nigg was a cornerstone of the oil and gas industry, although it has largely lain dormant for the past 10 years. Nevertheless its history, location, size and facilities make it a key location to capitalise on upcoming opportunities in oil and gas and unlock the next stages of growth in the fast emerging Scottish renewables sector. Having bought the site in October 2011 Global Energy Group are developing plans to transform the 238-acre site into a modern multi-user facility serving a range of energy sectors, including oil & gas and renewables.
Mr Hendry was given a tour of the site before being shown around the Nigg Skills Academy. Global have worked with partner organisations in the public sector to establish an academy aimed at providing workers with the skills and qualifications needed to work in the energy industry. By 2015 Global aim to provide both MAs and general training for some 3,000 people for a range of jobs, including engineers, operators, riggers, technicians and for general and project management.
From Nigg the Minister travelled to Inverness for a visit to Falck Renewables. Falck Renewables is the largest independent onshore wind farm company in the UK and is rapidly become a key player in the Scottish energy market. They are especially renowned for their successful engagement with local communities. As well as meeting with Falck management, Mr Hendry had the opportunity to discuss community ownership and engagement with a representative of a local co-op part of one of these community ownership schemes.
After these visits, the minister met with a group of representatives from Energy North, and then Highlands and Islands Enterprise to discuss current matters in the region.
The last event for the day was the address at the SCDI dinner where key Scottish stakeholders had come to hear the minister speak on EMR and Energy Bill.
Mr Hendry will continue his tour tomorrow when he visits a Total gas plant in Shetland.