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Associate feature: Energy into the future - a vision for Orkney's harbours

Associate feature: Energy into the future - a vision for Orkney's harbours

The Orkney Islands are where the sea and the land go hand-in-hand with each other - our success intertwined with the ocean.

With over 5,000 years of innovation behind us, we are sharing our vision for the future of Orkney’s harbours which are already one of the most diverse and successful council-run ports in the UK.

The shipping sector is vital to the global economy, something that has been clearly shown in the past few months when the industry kept up the supply of essential goods and remained at full capacity working throughout the pandemic. Reducing the carbon emissions from our industry, on both land and sea, is the biggest challenge we face, and how we reduce these though application of technologies against a level of cost which is acceptable, is the key to success. 

Aligning this with the supplementation of policies and incentives without any restriction to our vital trade links will be a challenge. It is to be noted that in the timetables for reducing emissions are particularly short in an industry where 2050 can be described as being just one vessels lifetime away.

It is by investing in facilities and infrastructure, so that we can meet the needs of changing markets, grow our business and safeguard Orkney’s harbours as essential economic drivers and community assets for future generations, that we can play a key role in the decarbonisation of shipping. This will not only safeguard existing jobs at sea and ashore but create many more and in doing so strengthen the viability and sustainability of the local community for the longer term, making Orkney an attractive place to live, work and do business.

Our forward thinking and transformational Harbours Masterplan is our vision to build a truly sustainable business that is a core economic asset for Orkney, but also a first phase in enabling a scale of investment and logistical capability for Scotland and the rest of the UK, which will be of international significance and make Orkney a low-carbon, zero-emissions hub of innovation.

Central to the project is the unique geographical advantage of Scapa Flow, the largest natural deep-water harbor in the northern hemisphere, as the potential setting for internationally significant marine logistics to serve the new and emerging sectors including low carbon fuel transition and offshore wind developments. 

A completely new facility at Scapa Deep Water Quay will provide a multi-use quay in deep water with a dedicated laydown area, as well as expansion to the existing facilities at  Hatston Pier, Kirkwall Pier, Scapa Pier and Stromness. These will provide a framework of facilities that will support the new generation of offshore windfarms that are offered in the ScotWind leasing round as well as supporting the transition fuels that will be used in the next generation of vessels that are vital to smooth the path towards decarbonisation. 

Orkney Islands Council, the Statutory Harbour Authority, has overall responsibility for the project and keeping the focus on harbour infrastructure enhancements that will generate jobs, increase revenue and attract new business. It represents the first step in a review of Harbour Authority-owned infrastructure to create a base for innovation and secure the long-term future for the community.  

Now is the right time to maximise the incredible natural assets and geography of Scapa Flow and Orkney to ensure a sustainable future for our communities.  We are open for business now and ready to work with potential investors and operators to develop the significant strategic and international opportunities Scapa Flow offers.

Providing the framework and facilities that will support Energy into the Future and planning to build on the decades of marine expertise and activity across Orkney and create new facilities which will consolidate Orkney’s position on the maritime map for the 21st century will continue our incredible record of innovation which is showing no signs of slowing. Even after 5,000 years.

This piece was sponsored by Orkney Harbours

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