Scotland, England vying for Gamesa offshore wind farm

The Scottish port of Leith and the English town of Hartlepool are vying for a $237 million investment from Spanish wind-turbine manufacturer Gamesa, which plans to build a turbine and blades plant in the U.K. to be operational by 2014.

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News service Bloomberg reported on Feb. 21 that Scotland and England are competing to create a hub for the country’s $52 billion offshore wind industry. Leith, the port area of the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, and the northeast English coastal town of Hartlepool are vying for a £150 million ($237 million USD) investment from Spanish wind-turbine maker Gamesa Corp Tecnologica SA. 

“The U.K. should be the dominant world market for offshore wind by 2020,” Ronan O’Regan, director of energy and utilities at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in London, told Bloomberg. Ports that secure the industry’s investment will likely see “a significant economic uplift,” he said. The industry may be worth as much as £33 billion over the next eight years, according to the Carbon Trust, which was founded by the government to help reduce emissions.

According to the report, Gamesa, Europe’s third-biggest wind-turbine maker, plans to establish the factory, maintenance center and logistics operations in Britain as the nation ramps up wind-power production to 31,000 MW by 2020. More than half of that capacity, or 18,000 MW, is to come from offshore wind, up from about 1,500 MW now. Gamesa is still analyzing the relative merits of Leith and Hartlepool and holding talks with officials, a company spokeswoman said on Feb. 15.

The report notes that as well as onshore and offshore wind farms, the seas around Scotland have the potential to provide up to 25 percent of Europe’s tidal power and 10 percent of its wave power, according to Scottish Development International. 

About £1 billion has been invested in offshore wind in Britain since April 2011, U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said on Feb. 9 after inaugurating the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, which is in the Irish Sea off Britain’s west coast. The money includes a Jan. 31 announcement that Samsung Heavy Industries Co. will base a £100 million offshore wind project in Scotland, creating more than 500 jobs.

According to the report, Gamesa would build and open the plant making turbines and blades by 2014, according Scottish Development International, the agency responsible for bringing in foreign investment.

Click here for original Bloomberg report.