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Gamesa picks Scotland for £125m turbine manufacturing plant

Green energy news – by Louise Bateman
23rd March 2012
Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa has announced its intention to set up a £125 million wind turbine manufacturing plant in the Port of Leith, Scotland.
The announcement follows a UK search of locations suitable to establish the factory, which will produce Gamesa’s giant offshore wind turbines and the generator units that go with them. It is expected to create 1,000 direct jobs and many more in the supply chain.

Gamesa’s decision signifies an important boost for Scotland’s renewable ambitions, and politically for Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, who is preparing to ask Scottish voters their view on independence. The Edinburgh port was up against Hartlepool for the investment. The decision comes as a number of major wind turbine manufacturers with plans to set up plants in England have been reviewing these or seeking assurance from the UK Government over its commitment to wind energy.

‪"I’m delighted that Gamesa has chosen Scotland and the fantastic Port of Leith as its preferred location for the manufacture of its new model of offshore wind turbines," Salmond said. "Gamesa’s decision is also the latest in a series of inward investment announcements by major international companies that signal Scotland’s leading position in the renewables revolution that is sweeping Europe and the wider world."

Commenting on the decision, though, Prime Minister David Cameron, pointed out the importance of maintaining the union to secure Scotland's position as a leader in offshore wind. "Scotland benefits from UK wide initiatives to promote renewables and access to the entire UK consumer market. That coupled with the economic security that comes from being part of one of the world's most successful unions makes Scotland an obvious place for companies like Gamesa to invest in," said Cameron. 

Close race
Energy Secretary Ed Davey added that Gamesa decision followed a closely run race between Leith and Hartlepool. "I am delighted that Gamesa has chosen to invest in Leith and cement its commitment to the UK offshore wind market. The Government has been working with the company on this project for some time so it is great to see real progress being made."

Gamesa said it would now be seeking a Memoradum of Understanding (MOU) with the Port of Leith that will agree detailed arrangements for the manufacturing base, including blade and nacelles plants, port logistics and O&M services. 

"I am delighted that Gamesa will pursue MOU discussions with the Port of Leith aimed at manufacturing its technologically advanced wind turbines for the offshore sector there," Gamesa chairman and ceo, Jorge Calvet said. 

"High quality" jobs
"If market conditions are favourable this would mean many high quality jobs for the area.

"We hope to play a central role in strengthening the UK's offshore wind energy sector and improving security of energy supply in the future."

Gamesa first announced its intentions to set up a manufacturing base in the UK over a year ago. It is part of a major UK offshore wind investment programme by Gamesa, which has already opened an R&D facility in Strathclyde and is establishing its global headquarters for offshore wind in London.

The company is one of a number of major wind turbine manufacturers planning to invest in the UK. Others include Vestas GE and Siemens. However, the Guardian reported last months that concerns over the Government’s commitment to wind energy meant some were reviewing their commitments. 

Renewables: "crucial" role
This week, though, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, indicated his support for renewables saying they had a "crucial" role to play in Britain’s energy mix.

In its Renewable Energy Roadmap, the UK Government says it has ambitions to see as much as 18 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2020, provided costs come down. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has made up to £60 million of capital funding available to support the development of major offshore wind manufacturing facilities in assisted areas of England, but the potential boost has not yet been detailed. The Scottish Government, meanwhile, has established a £70 million pot for national renewable energy infrastructure projects.

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Gamesa picks Scotland for £125m turbine manufacturing plant
Gamesa has signalled its intention to set up a offshore wind manufacturing plant at the Port of Leith
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