Renewables jobs boost for Fife as Samsung announce significant investment


By G.A.Ponsonby
Korean giant Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) is to base its first European offshore wind project in Fife in an inward venture worth up to £100m that is expected to create more than 500 new jobs in Scotland.
The announcement came at the Scottish Offshore Wind and Supply Chain Conference in Aberdeen, at which First Minister Alex Salmond was delivering a keynote speech.

SHI has also signed a multimillion pound deal with East Kilbride-based Clyde Blowers’ owned company, David Brown Gear Systems (David Brown), to supply gearbox systems for its next generation offshore wind turbine.

The South Korean company will now work closely with economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise and Fife Council under a strategic agreement to develop its ambitious project in Fife, which subject to successful test and demonstration of its technology would result in nacelle, gear box assembly and blade manufacturing facilities in Scotland.

Samsung’s announcement is a further blow to claims by Unionist commentators who have persistently asserted that Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum is harming investment.

The agreement follows recent investments by other world renowned companies including Taqa, Avaloq, FMC Technologies, Aker, Ineos, PetroChina, Dell, Gamesa, BNY Mellon, State Street, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and Mitsubishi Powers Systems.

First Minister Alex Salmond, said

“I am extremely pleased to welcome this inward investment by Samsung Heavy Industries which further reinforces Scotland’s place in the development of the next generation of offshore wind turbines.

“Their choice of Scotland as their first base in Europe for renewable technology development is testament to the fact this country is fast becoming the European centre for research and development in new offshore wind technologies.

“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.

“Scottish Enterprise, Fife Council and Scottish Development International are committed to work with Samsung Heavy Industries and David Brown to secure further investment in the form of a new wind turbine facility and associated gearbox plant at the Fife Energy Park at Methil – a significant move in that it could see much needed high-value employment in this area of Scotland.”

David Brown will design and supply the new gearbox system for SHI’s next generation offshore wind turbine as the Korean company enters the European offshore wind industry.

The company intends to co-locate a gearbox assembly plant to supply the SHI facility at Methil.

Mr Insik Roh, CEO of Samsung Heavy Industries, said:

“We are pleased to be participating in the development of the Energy Park at Methil at such an exciting time for the Scottish renewable energy industry. The testing of the new 7MW offshore wind turbine at the Fife Energy Park signifies a milestone in the development of Samsung’s new wind turbine generator system.

“We hope 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.”

Jim McColl, Chairman and CEO of Clyde Blowers Capital, joined the First Minister in welcoming the news:

“This is a very exciting development for Clyde Blowers and David Brown, our growing collaboration with Samsung has led to the signing of this first major agreement.

“David Brown’s innovative and technologically advanced gearbox design will enable Samsung to deliver the next generation of off shore wind turbines and provide a lower cost energy solution to its customers.

“Clyde Blowers has also committed to jointly exploring further supply chain opportunities in support of Samsung’s offshore wind business.”

Cllr Peter Grant, Leader of Fife Council, called the development “a milestone for Fife” and added:

“This potential investment by two global leaders proves yet again that Fife is becoming one of the easiest places to do business and builds on the back of recent investments totalling almost £400 million by Amazon, Diageo, and RWE.”