By a Newsnet reporter
The Scottish Government has today welcomed the announcement by the global renewables firm Gamesa to pursue an agreement with the Port of Leith to establish its offshore manufacturing base in the UK. The SNP have said the announcement represents a massive vote of confidence in the Scottish economy, and it demolishes Prime Minister David Cameron’s anti-independence scares over investment.
The agreement with Gamesa will create an initial 800 new jobs as well as bringing in €150 million (approx £125 million) of investment in the Scottish economy.
Gamesa is a global technology leader in the wind turbine business. Its business includes the design, construction and installation of wind turbines, as well as operation and maintenance services. The company has some thirty factories in Europe, the US, China, India and Brazil and globally employs some 8,000 staff.
The announcement by Gamesa is expected to give a major boost to the renewables industry in Scotland, and it is hoped that the establishment of the company’s new manufacturing plant will encourage other companies in the sector to invest in Scotland.
Gamesa Chairman and CEO Jorge Calvet said:
“I am delighted that Gamesa will pursue MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] discussions with the Port of Leith aimed at manufacturing its technologically advanced wind turbines for the offshore sector there. If market conditions are favourable this would mean many high quality jobs for the area.
I have only praise for the support we have received throughout this process from Government Ministers and agencies across the UK. 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. In achieving this we would also minimize any environmental impact whilst continuing to invest in and build relationships with the local communities with which we shall be working. Selection of Leith, as our preferred partner for the MoU aimed at establishing a UK manufacturing base is only a first stage, but an important one.”
First Minister Alex Salmond said:
”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. This is terrific news, meaning up to 1000 jobs and 150 million euro of investment in Scotland. Their decision, coming less than a year after opening their offshore wind technology centre near Glasgow, follows many detailed discussions with the Scottish Government, SDI and Scottish Enterprise and the company’s own careful analysis of locations offering the optimum environment to deliver its product.
”I look forward to the parties moving forward quickly to conclude the MoU, as today’s announcement is a welcome boost to Leith and to the wider Edinburgh and Lothians economy – with hundreds of quality engineering and other jobs coming to Scotland’s capital city.”
The SNP also said that the announcement – coming on top of other recent inward investment announcements – demolishes the anti-independence and referendum scare stories about investment, trotted out by David Cameron at the Tory conference on Friday in a spectacular piece of political mistiming.
Edinburgh Central MSP Marco Biagi, in whose constituency the new plant will be based, said that the anti-wind power campaign of Tories such as Murdo Fraser and Struan Stevenson would destroy these green energy jobs in Leith, Nigg, and all across Scotland.
Speaking after the company made the announcement, Mr Biagi MSP said:
“This is great news for everyone involved in Leith and a massive vote of confidence in Scotland and the Scottish economy – the First Minister and Scottish Government and its agencies have clearly played a massive part in landing this deal, demonstrating the SNP administration working for Scotland.
“Coming on the back of today’s [Friday’s] announcement by the First Minister of renewables training opportunities at Nigg and the decision to locate the Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh, it is clear that Edinburgh and all of Scotland are placing themselves at the heart of the global clean green energy revolution.
“Given Scotland’s vast renweables resources with a quarter of Europe’s tidal and offshore wind power and 10% of its wave power, as well as a historic legacy of excellence in the energy industries, Scotland is well placed to benefit from the global shift to renewables.
“This announcement shows that by making the most of our competitive advantage in renewables, we are building the reindustrialisation of communities across Scotland.
“This massive investment was a straight competition between Leith and Hartlepool, and demolishes the scare stories about the referendum and independence trotted out by David Cameron at the Scottish Tory conference only today, in a spectacular piece of political mistiming.
“Other major international players are also investing in Scotland and establishing our country as a base for global expansion – BNY Mellon, Virgin Money, State Street, Blackrock, Amazon, Mitsubishi, and GSK are just some of the recent investors. In fact, the Ernst & Young UK Attractiveness Survey, published in May 2011, found that in terms of employment generated by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Scotland was the leading location within the UK in 2010 – punching well above our weight as a location for international investment.
“David Cameron’s remarks on the referendum and independence are demonstrably wrong and ridiculous.
“In fact, if it was up to the Tories and the anti-wind farm campaign being pursued by prominent Tories such as Murdo Fraser and Struan Stevenson, literally none of these jobs would be coming to Scotland. In every single community across Scotland, winning jobs in wind energy under an SNP government, people know that the Tories would destroy these jobs by destroying this major Scottish industry.”