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Work starts on first UK offshore wind tower factory

07 July 2016

Argyll, Scotland, gets £27m South Korean investment

Work on the UK’s first offshore wind tower factory will officially start in Argyll today (July 7) at a ground-breaking ceremony attended by Scotland’s Energy Minister.

CS Wind UK’s base in Campbeltown, which employs 175 people, is set for a £27 million investment after its acquisition by South Korean manufacturer CS Wind Corporation in April (2016).

It is expected that the investment will create 160 new jobs at the factory.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has invested in the establishment of the wind factory at Machrihanish over the past 15 years. From 2011, SSE operated the plant, with investment from HIE, as a key operator for the UK renewables supply chain and one that would ultimately attract a large inward investor.

Douglas Cowan, director of strengthening communities at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “We are delighted to welcome CS Wind UK to Machrihanish, which is now firmly on the UK renewables map. We very much welcome the plans for such major investment in this rural location and relish the prospect of continuing to work with the company, and exploring opportunities to support its growth plans.”

Scottish Government Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP will join CS Wind Corporation Chairman Seong-Gon Gim and Charles Hay, UK Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, at a ground breaking ceremony on July 7.

CS Wind has factories in China, Vietnam and Canada, and has already manufactured more than 6,000 towers worldwide. The investment will increase production volume at the existing onshore wind tower factory and allow for the fabrication of larger diameter towers for the offshore wind sector.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said: “The £27 million investment undertaken by CS Wind UK, which will increase production capacity at the Campbeltown plant, highlights the importance of both the onshore and offshore wind sectors to the Scottish economy.

“I warmly welcome this important collaboration, which will help to deliver on our aim for Scottish engineering and the wider renewables supply chain to capture a far greater share of the economic value arising from the construction phase of wind energy projects.

“Yesterday (6th July) Vattenfall announced the signing of an MoU with CS Wind UK and Vattenfall, working together on a number of onshore and offshore wind projects in the future. Today’s further announcement that CS Wind will be signing a MoU with Siemens to produce up to 200 offshore towers between 2017 and 2019 is also very welcome news, and is a further endorsement of CS Wind’s investment in the Machrihanish facility, which will secure local jobs within the community in Kintyre.

“The announcement also reinforces our view that offshore wind energy represents not only a vital energy resource, and Scotland is a highly competitive location for projects, but also that the supply chain for the technology presents a huge economic opportunity for both Scotland and the UK."

UK Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “We are building a strong, competitive UK supply chain to support our world leading offshore wind industry. Businesses now have greater certainty than ever before thanks to government’s £730m of support for renewables.

“CS Wind is a great example of how this newfound certainty can drive local jobs and growth through the UK supply chain.”

Mr Young-Jae Ryu , Managing Director, CS Wind UK, said: “This event and the signing of these agreements marks the start of significant investment in the factory, which will ensure high-quality, cost competitive towers for both on and offshore wind projects being built in the UK.

“CS Wind UK’s investment is a strong signal that UK manufacturers and suppliers have an important part to play in the development of offshore windfarm projects, securing jobs and a long-term future for the local economies.”

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “The growth of offshore wind is a huge economic opportunity for businesses across the UK and it is great to see CS Wind gearing up to bid for contracts on future developments.

“The factory is a major employer in Argyll and Bute, and an important part of Scotland’s renewable energy sector. This announcement comes hot on the heels of contract wins for businesses in Wick, Nigg and Fife, all of which reinforces the economic and social benefits of investment in renewable energy.”

On the eve of the  ground breaking ceremony, CS Wind UK and Vattenfall, the Swedish state-owned wind farm developer, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding committing both companies to co-operation over potential future contract and supply opportunities for Vattenfall’s UK development pipeline.

Wind tower manufacturing giant Siemens will also give the new facility vote of confidence by signing an agreement at the event that will see CS Wind awarded preferred supplier status for multiple Siemens offshore tower projects.


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