This blog post was written by Michelle Handforth, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Harbour Board. Aberdeen Harbour are a principal sponsor of the SCDI Annual Lecture 2021 – click to book your places now. 

2021 will undoubtedly be a momentous year for Scotland. COVID-19 aside, the country will be on the world stage as COP26 draws people from around the globe (virtually or otherwise); people who are full of ambition, determination, expectation, and challenge. And as the city at the heart of the energy industry, we must be ready.

It has never been more important to power on with energy transition plans and get the country – and its ports – ready to support the UK’s green industrial revolution. As a nation, we have more than one competitive advantage: established expertise in harsh offshore environments, a highly skilled workforce, excellent port infrastructure and a strong innovation hub.

Aberdeen’s experience, location, supply chain and infrastructure are the building blocks of Scotland’s advantage, and will be crucial in reaching the ambitious targets set by the government and industry to reduce carbon-based energy sources and emissions.

As one of the busiest and multi-faceted ports in the UK, we are optimistic and ready. Our £350 million expansion will take the port’s capabilities to a new level, and the impact of this scale of investment will be felt throughout the country. As well as providing significant economic benefits – £1.9 GVA to the national economy and 15,500 jobs by 2035 – our modern, future-proofed marine infrastructure will undoubtedly be a significant component in carbon-reducing initiatives, such as offshore wind, green hydrogen, shoreside power and carbon capture and storage.

As the expanded Harbour nears its phased opening later this year and into 2022, we will grab hold of the world of possibilities it presents. We look forward to working extremely closely with our customers, port users, industry organisations and politicians to maximise the potential for the expanded port, and power forward with the energy transition.