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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
23 February 2024
Màiri McAllan announces Japanese firm’s £350m renewable energy project

Mairi McAllan | Alamy

Màiri McAllan announces Japanese firm’s £350m renewable energy project

Màiri McAllan has announced that the Japanese firm Sumitomo Electric Industries will invest £350m into a major renewable energy project.  

Speaking in Edinburgh as she set out her vision for her new portfolio, the Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Net Zero and Energy said a £24.5m Scottish Government grant helped secure Sumitomo Electric Industries’ investment in the new cable factory for the offshore wind sector at Nigg.

She said inward investment projects like the one announced today “don’t happen by accident”.  

The factory, which is the Sumitomo’s first in Europe, will manufacture high voltage cables for offshore wind turbines as demand has rapidly increased in recent years.  

It represents one of the largest inward investment projects ever for the Highland and Islands, and it is expected to stimulate significant economic activity across industrial supply chains at regional, Scottish and UK levels.

It is expected that the site will create 330 Scottish jobs over the next ten years – 265 of which will be in the Highlands and Islands.  

In January, Highland Council approved a planning application from Sumitomo for a 57,500 square metre factory on a 15-hectare site close to the Port of Nigg yard in Easter Ross.  

Crucial in Sumitomo’s decision to invest in the Highlands, the site is located within the recently designated Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport boundary.

McAllan said: “This sort of investment doesn’t happen by accident.  

“Ministers have been engaging with Sumitomo for several years and it has been a true team Scotland effort.”

Setting out her vision for her portfolio, she told audience members that in her new role she will prioritise growth.

“My bottom line is your bottom line,” she said.  

“I want the economy to grow, I want individual businesses to invest, I want productivity to increase, and I want to help you succeed.”

Following her speech, McAllan was asked by Holyrood if she agreed with messaging in a Scottish Greens party political broadcast last night that featured the line “eat the rich”.  

She described the message from her partners in government as not being “particularly helpful rhetoric” and said it was “not something I would say”.

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