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Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport

Positioned at the heart of the UK’s multi-billion pound offshore renewables sector, the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport will revolutionise the Scottish and Highland economy.

The Highland region has a strong legacy in oil and gas, and an abundance of renewable energy resources, putting it at the forefront of the energy industry. The Green Freeport benefits from strengths in areas such as offshore wind and associated renewable energy technologies, as well as life sciences in Inverness.

Inverness and Cromarty Firth Freeport offers a range of incentives relating to customs, tax, planning, infrastructure, and innovation. See further details on the benefits of Freeports.

The Green Freeport’s proposed tax sites total around 520 hectares of land and are located at:

  • The Cromarty Firth: this area includes Nigg, Port of Cromarty Firth and Deephaven
  • Nigg: the whole of the Nigg Energy Park will be part of the Freeport, as well as areas of Pitcalzean Farm
  • Inverness: the Freeport takes in Inverness Harbour as well as Inverness Campus
  • Ardersier
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Investment type:

Freeports

Sector:

(Hydrogen, Life sciences, Floating offshore wind)

Michael Green

Michael Green

Head of Freeports and Investment Zones

Contact the opportunity lead

Get in touch

Sector and market opportunity

The Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport offers a unique investment opportunity to be at the forefront of the UK’s drive towards achieving net-zero emissions. The area has the potential to become a world leader in floating offshore wind (FLOW) due to its ideal location, local skills and expertise, and strong track record of delivering offshore projects.

It serves as an epicentre for the industry, offering opportunity in supply chain, manufacturing, marshalling and assembly, as well as research and development.

Furthermore, the Green Freeport has been identified as an ideal location for establishing a green hydrogen energy hub, capable of producing, storing, and distributing green hydrogen on a substantial scale. This infrastructure would serve not only the local region but also extend its reach to other regions of the UK and across Europe.

The Green Freeport is also home to a growing life sciences cluster around the Inverness Campus, with the opportunity for businesses to access an innovation centre, academic partnerships and an ideal test bed for remote healthcare solutions.

Growth prospects

The UK has a world-leading ambition to deploy up to 50GW through offshore wind by 2030, with up to 5GW coming from floating offshore wind. The Green Freeports offers significant opportunity for businesses to capitalise on the many near-term FLOW project underway in the region that will help meet this target.

The UK hydrogen economy is forecast to be worth £900 million by 2030, with the potential to reach £13 billion by 2050.

Aligning with the UK’s commitment to net-zero, the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport has the potential to become the largest European hub for the development of the offshore wind industry and renewable energy.

Location

The region has benefitted from over £100 million of industry-lead investments in recent years, resulting in the creation of world-class modern facilities and a strong skills base. Its proximity to windfarm sites makes it a top choice for the growing floating wind industry, competing with international facilities.

The plans to develop of one the UK’s largest green hydrogen electrolyser plants on the Cromarty Firth could bring about a multitude of opportunities into local supply chains in the Highland region.

The Inverness Campus is central to the region’s life sciences expertise, including the Life Sciences Innovation Centre. The Campus’ Highland location has been part of its success, allowing it to act as a testbed for remote and rural healthcare that can be applied globally.

Connectivity

The 4 ports within the Green Freeport that make up a key hub for ships arriving from the Baltics, Scandinavia and across Europe. These ports have also played a long-term role in the development of energy in the North Sea.

There are 9 national and international airports spread across the region, with direct flights from Inverness airport to major European cities such as London and Amsterdam.

The region has an excellent railway network with Inverness as the central hub for northern Scotland, along with well-connected trunk roads linking the Highlands and Islands to the wider UK.

Local talent and skills

The Highlands and Islands region benefits from a strong talent pool of well-educated, skilled and knowledgeable professionals across a broad range of sectors.

From apprenticeships to industry leaders, the region offers a dynamic workforce with a higher number of people in high or medium skilled occupations than in Scotland as a whole. 7 universities have a presence in the Highlands and Islands region and the area produces 10,000 industry-ready graduates per year.

Region Spotlight
Scotland

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Scotland is a cost-effective home for your business with a range of skills and opportunities to help you expand and grow. It has a welcoming business environment, diverse industries, vibrant cities, and stunning landscapes. Scotland's tradition of innovation is matched by excellent supply chain infrastructure and networks.

View all investment opportunities in Scotland

National government support

As specially designed areas with beneficial economic regulations, Freeports can help you achieve sustained growth, and may be able to save you time and money through:

Tax reliefs

  • Land and Building Transactions Tax relief
  • enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in plant & machinery and structures & buildings
  • five years of Non-Domestic Rates relief
  • employer National Insurance contributions relief

Customs and Planning

  • simplified customs procedure
  • deferrals and exemptions from duty payments
  • VAT suspension within customs sites
  • supportive local planning environments with constructive public-private partnerships

Innovation Offer

  • extensive public investment in skills and infrastructure
  • access to the Freeport Regulation Engagement Network (FREN), enabling direct and early engagement between businesses, Freeports, and regulators
  • access to the Freeport Innovation Network (FIN), a collaboration vehicle for Freeports to shape and organise their innovation activity as a collective

Other opportunities