Orkney pier opens after £8m extension project
A pier in Orkney that will serve as a support and logistics base for marine energy developers has officially opened after an £8m extension project.
Hatston Pier, on the edge of Kirkwall, has been extended by 160m to 385m.
Orkney Islands Council said Hatston had become Scotland's longest commercial deep-water berth.
It is strategically located for a test site off the island of Eday, where a number of tidal energy devices are undergoing trials.
The test site is run by the European Marine Energy Centre (Emec).
The council project attracted £3.2m in support from the European Regional Development Fund.
Council convener Steven Heddle, said: "The pier, and all the developers and businesses who use it, will be part of the success story of marine renewables in Orkney, and contribute to our islands' ongoing prosperity.
"That is our hope, and our expectation, and that is why the council has chosen to invest in the future here."
The extension to Hatston marks the completion of the second phase in the council's three-port strategy to support the development of wave and tidal energy generation in the islands.
A former wartime naval base at Lyness is already being used as a multi-purpose logistics base for the wave and tidal energy sectors, while a new 100m pier at Copland's Dock in Stromness is under construction.
Mr Heddle added: "Our aim is to ensure that world-leading research and testing activity at Emec leads on to the world-leading commercialisation of a new industry.
"With Orkney at its hub, this will secure economic benefit and employment for our islands for many years to come."
As well as supporting the marine renewable energy sector, Hatston Pier will also serve as a berth for a variety of vessels, including ferries, cruise ships and those serving the offshore oil and gas industries.