Funding secured for £350m Sumitomo Cromarty plant

A funding package has been agreed to secure an estimated £350 million inward investment project for Cromarty in the Scottish Highlands from Sumitomo Electric UK Power Cables Ltd (SEUK), a subsidiary of Japanese company Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd (SEI).

The Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise have approved up to £24.5 million in public sector support to secure the project.

This comprises £19.37 million of Scottish Government funding, £4.6 million from HIE and £530,000 from Scottish Enterprise.

The project is expected to stimulate significant economic activity across industry supply chains at regional, Scottish and UK levels.

This includes the creation of around 330 jobs in Scotland over the next 10 years, 265 of which will be in the Highlands and Islands, including 156 well-paid manufacturing jobs on site.

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

The site is located within the recently designated Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport boundary, which was a key factor in the company’s decision to invest in the Highlands.

In May 2023, SEI announced plans to develop a power cable factory in the Scottish Highlands, which would supply high voltage cables to the growing offshore wind energy sector in the area.

With offshore wind developments like ScotWind increasing in Scotland and the UK, the market demand for high voltage cables has rapidly increased.

There are currently extended lead times for cable supply which, in turn, slow the development of offshore wind projects.

SEUK’s new factory will help reduce those lead times.

The £25.4 million in funding will support the project as it begins to invest in its plant and equipment, with the construction of a new purpose-built factory, and with long-term land leasing and associated costs.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise CEO Stuart Black said: “This is one of the biggest ever inward investment projects for the Highlands and Islands, and is a fantastic opportunity for the region and for the country as a whole.

“We expect to see hundreds of high-quality employment opportunities created during the construction phase and beyond, including opportunities throughout the supply chain.”

Scottish Development International (SDI) has been working with Sumitomo for a number of years to showcase Scotland’s capabilities in renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise CEO Adrian Gillespie said: “Sumitomo’s decision to locate in Scotland is good news, both for the Highlands region and because it adds another critical capability to Scotland’s supply chain offering in offshore wind.

“Scottish Enterprise’s new approach to working with companies includes our energy transition mission, which aims to accelerate technology innovation, supply chain capability and investment in manufacturing and key infrastructure.

“Sumitomo is a great example of this process in action and, alongside our Team Scotland partners, we’ll continue to work closely with the company as it expands its operations here.”