Samsung joins renewables jobs surge with plans for Scottish wind turbine plant

Engineering giant Samsung has become the latest global manufacturer to announce plans for a British wind turbine plant, confirming today that it is to open a new facility in Fife that is expected to create more than 500 new jobs.

The £100m investment was announced at the Scottish Offshore Wind and Supply Chain Conference in Aberdeen and will see the company develop its new 7MW offshore wind turbine at the Energy Park at Methil near Fife.

The company also announced a multimillion-pound deal with David Brown Gear Systems that will see the UK-based firm provide gearbox systems to Samsung.
The news was welcomed by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, who hailed it as further evidence of Scotland’s central role in the development of next generation offshore wind turbines.

“Their choice of Scotland as their first base in Europe for renewable technology development is testament to the fact that this country is fast-becoming the European centre for research and development in new offshore wind technologies,” he said. “For Methil to be chosen as the test site for Samsung Heavy Industries’ new 7MW wind turbine is another example of this country’s ability to secure investment from global multinationals.”

Insik Roh, chief executive of Samsung Heavy Industries, said the company hoped to “contribute to the Scottish economy through successful testing and certification of our cutting-edge offshore wind turbine, and ultimately through establishment of our manufacturing facility here in Methil”.

The news is the latest in a series of encouraging announcements from the UK’s burgeoning wind energy industry, which despite the tough economic backdrop looks set to create thousands of new jobs over the next few years.

It follows the recent announcement that Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has submitted a planning application for a new factory at Sheerness in Kent that could create around 2,000 jobs, while Chepstow-based wind turbine tower manufacturer Mabey Bridge also confirmed this month that it had secured a new order for 35 towers.

Trade association RenewableUK said the small wind turbine sector was also enjoying rapid expansion, with Leicestershire-based manufacturer Evance Wind Turbines recently announcing that annual sales had trebled and its workforce had increased by 25 per cent.

“These job announcements by global players such as Samsung, Vestas and other key companies amount to a January jobs mega-boost for the wind industry,” said RenewableUK’s director of policy, Gordon Edge. “We’re becoming a powerhouse, creating permanent jobs at all levels for hardworking people up and down the country, employing engineers, component manufacturers, apprentices and all the staff that support them.

“We know that stimulating growth is the way to help UK plc out of its current economic difficulties – the wind industry is at the forefront of the green jobs revolution.”

His comments were echoed by Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, who said the Samsung announcement contrasted with other sectors of the economy.

“While other parts of the economy are sluggish or even going backwards, the renewables industry is going from strength to strength,” he said. “This investment will create jobs and help reduce carbon emissions, making it excellent news for Fife, for Scotland and for the environment.”

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