Energy giant pledges to create Scottish base
THE creation of a new turbine manufacturing facility in Scotland could create hundreds of jobs and generate significant work for the renewables supply chain.
The possibility of such a scenario unfolding increased after one of Europe’s largest offshore wind energy firms gave a commitment to set up home in Scotland.
Areva CEO Luc Oursel signed a deal with Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, during a recent meeting in Paris attended by First Minister Alex Salmond.
The company signed a strategic agreement with the enterprise organisation, outlining its intention to locate nacelle (turbine operation) and blade manufacturing facilities to Scotland with the potential to create 750 jobs.
Areva is looking in detail at the offshore locations identified in Scotland’s National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (NRI-P), which offer the biggest potential for investors in offshore development.
“Areva’s industrial heritage and diverse portfolio has placed us firmly at the forefront of low carbon technological solutions,” said Oursel.
“Scotland is known to be a pioneer in renewables and its commitment to offshore wind in particular was a key part of our decision to locate our future UK manufacturing base there.
“This new facility is part of Areva’s strategy to establish a manufacturing footprint that will cover the European market.”
The location of additional turbine manufacturing in Scotland will increase the economic growth potential from renewable energy. Scotland’s renewable industry has attracted £2.8 billion capital investment since 2009.
Alex Salmond said: “The manufacturing of nacelles and blades for these turbines in Scotland will deliver nationwide economic benefits as well as much welcome inward investment to the chosen location once that has been agreed.”
Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager for Scottish Renewables, described the agreement as an example of how quickly Scotland is becoming an attractive destination for global investment in the offshore wind industry.
She added: “We have the potential to rejuvenate our heavy industries and manufacturing sector by continuing to support offshore wind which in turn will create much needed jobs in the east coast – it’s hard to see another industry in Scotland with the potential to generate hundreds of new highly paid and highly skilled jobs and opportunities and millions of pounds of investment?
“This announcement shows the scale of opportunity in renewables and exactly what is at stake with the continued uncertainty over the UK Government’s commitment to wind power.”