More than 80 jobs created at Arnish near Stornoway

Image source, Sandie Maciver
Image caption,
Cutting steel for the new contract at Arnish

A yard in the Western Isles mothballed about a year ago has been brought back into use to build supports for offshore wind turbines.

The contract to manufacture the piles will create work for 82 people at its peak at Arnish, near Stornoway in Lewis.

The fabrication yard is operated by BiFab, which is owned by Canadian company DF Barnes.

The supports are for the 100-turbine Moray East scheme in the Moray Firth.

Arnish had been inactive for about a year when a contract linked to the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm came to an end.

'Long process'

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse has welcomed the awarding of the new contract.

He said: "The Scottish government's continued support, and collaborative approach with DF Barnes, has helped secure, at peak, 82 good quality jobs for this yard.

"However, we have always been clear there remains hard work ahead to rebuild the pipeline of work for the business."

Image caption,
Efforts are being made to secure more work of Arnish

Mr Wheelhouse said it was "essential" that developers and the wider supply chain looked to utilise Scottish facilities and workforce wherever possible.

Sean Power, of DF Barnes, said the new contract was the first stage "in a long process that aims to develop and secure a sustainable business".

He said: "We have made a long term commitment to BiFab and are actively leveraging our global skills and expertise to position the company for future growth."

DF Barnes is in discussions with the developers and contractors in relation to the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm in the Firth of Forth.

Image source, Sandie Maciver
Image caption,
The yard is making supports for an offshore wind farm

Rachel Mackenzie, Highlands and Islands area manager in the Outer Hebrides, said: "Today's announcement by owners DF Barnes is great news for the Outer Hebrides.

"This further demonstrates the region's capability to support the offshore wind sector. With its skilled workforce at Arnish, BiFab is in an excellent position to deliver part of this major contract and positions it as key player in the offshore wind supply chain.

"Long-term investment from HIE and the Scottish government has developed Arnish into a world-class facility where excellent infrastructure and equipment match a superb natural location for renewables manufacturing."