Hunterston PARC granted special renewable energy development status

Hunterston PARC granted special renewable energy development status

How the Hunterston PARC site could look with future tenants, including XLCC and FastRigs, in situ

Hunterston Port and Resource Campus (PARC) has been granted national development status under the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), creating opportunities for a slew of new renewable energy developments to come onstream.

The designation recognises Hunterston as a strategically important site that will play a key role in supporting the delivery of Scotland’s new national development strategy and the country’s transition to net zero by 2045.

Hunterston PARC, which is part of Clydeport, makes up one of only 18 developments to be named as national developments under the new strategy. The sites are to be redeveloped, with the government’s consultation paper on the strategy noting that this will leverage Hunterston PARC’s “potential for electricity generation from renewables,” as well as for various other commercial uses including “port, research and development, aquaculture, [and] the circular economy.”

Consequently, Hunterston PARC is calling upon renewable energy developers to join the growing community, as it will be able to facilitate a variety of new developments including offshore wind (both fixed and floating), hydrogen and carbon capture.

The designation provides confidence and certainty to the local community, businesses and investors in the acceptable uses for the site. The required consents will still have to be obtained, however, and the necessary impact assessments undertaken, in line with Clydeport’s statutory obligations.

In addition, several key sites within the Clydeport cluster have also received special status as part of the Clyde Mission, which is focused on the River Clyde and riverside from South Lanarkshire in the east to Inverclyde and Argyll and Bute on the west. This will mean that King George V Docks, Rothesay Dock, Inchgreen and Greenock Ocean Terminal will form part of the new planning designation.

James McSporran, director of Clydeport at Peel Ports Group, said: “We are extremely proud that Hunterston and key areas of Clydeport has been prioritised under this planning framework. The Hunterston campus is primed to play a leading role in meeting the challenge of a green economic recovery and making Scotland net-zero by 2045. That’s been our vision for Hunterston for many years, and national development status will help us make that vision a reality.

“Clydeport’s assets are uniquely placed to also attract further investment and business opportunities that will be a vital boost to the West of Scotland after Glasgow City Region lost out on its bid for green freeport status. If the government does proceed with investment zones, Clydeport and Hunterston are ideally positioned for the potential creation of new jobs locally, and the regeneration of the west coast of Scotland’s economy.”

Tom Arthur MSP, minister for public finance, planning and community wealth, said: “This designation recognises Hunterston’s importance for the port and energy industries given its existing infrastructure and deep-water access. National development status can help Hunterston support green sustainable jobs as part of the transformation of the economy to tackle climate change and reach net zero.

“Planning plays a key role in delivering the expansion of renewable energy needed to realise the just transition from reliance on fossil fuels. This Framework creates the foundation upon which to build the fairer, greener Scotland we want to see for the benefit of future generations.”

The government’s consultation paper notes that, in line with the Ayrshire Growth Deal, the redevelopment of the sites will open up opportunities for employment and training for people in Hunterston PARC. It states that a community wealth building approach will form a part of all future development proposals, ensuring the benefits are retained locally as far as possible. It also notes the redevelopments’ significant potential to have an overall net-positive impact on achieving national greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

This development is the latest step forward in Hunterston PARC’s vision to build and develop a facility to service and grow the blue, green and circular economies.

In August 2021 it announced a long-term deal with sub-sea cabling company XLCC for a major facility to include two factories, which could further generate 900 jobs. It gained planning approval last year.

Smart Green Shipping, in collaboration with Malin and with support from Scottish Enterprise, is set to install its demonstration FastRig at Hunterston in Q2 2023. The FastRig system is designed to augment a ship’s powertrain to save fuel, reduce mechanical wear and generate emissions credits.

Peel Ports is committed to becoming net-zero across all its sites by 2040, putting it 10 years ahead of the UK government’s national decarbonisation targets.

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