Samsung gets green light and £6m for giant offshore wind turbine
Plans by Scotland and South Korea to work together on developing new offshore wind and tidal power technologies have taken a step forward this week, during a Scottish delegation trip to the Asian economy.
The Scottish government yesterday gave the green light to Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries to develop a £6.04m test centre at the Fife Energy Park in Methil, which will be used to develop its next generation offshore wind turbine.
Samsung now hopes to start building a 7MW prototype turbine at the site 35 metres from the shore later this year, backed by a grant from Scottish Enterprise.
The company has pledged to invest £100m in Scotland and has awarded multi-million pound contracts to a number of local companies, including Renfrew-based Steel Engineering, to help develop the test turbine and foundations.
Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said Samsung’s investment, along with similar plans from Areva and Gamesa, is helping to build an offshore wind manufacturing hub on the east coast of Scotland.
“Samsung Heavy Industries’ plans along with that of other key international players in the sector, are testament to Scotland’s growing reputation as a leading global location for the next generation of offshore wind energy,” she said. “The success of companies in Scotland in securing business from Samsung, demonstrates that we are building a strong supply chain – which is critical if we are to truly realise our offshore wind potential.”
The news was welcomed by WWF Scotland, which said test sites for the next generation of large offshore wind turbines will be crucial to the development of the industry as it seeks to drive down costs through new technologies and better supply chain and deployment co-ordination.
“Studies estimate that Scotland’s offshore wind industry could create 28,000 jobs by 2020 and contribute over £7bn of investment to the economy,” said WWF Scotland director Lang Banks. “If we are to make these jobs a reality then it is important Scotland has the facilities to test offshore wind turbines and other components.”
The announcement was made during a trip to South Korea by Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney, which also saw two government agencies sign a memorandum of understanding to work together on accelerating the development of the marine energy sector.
Scottish Development International and Incheon Metropolitan City signed the deal with the aim of encouraging the two countries to exchange knowledge, ideas, and technologies that support the development of tidal power technologies.
“This marks the start of an exciting new journey which will see businesses in Scotland work in partnership with those in South Korea to jointly develop our tidal energy sectors, helping to grow this into a major global industry, “said Swinney.
“It is only through working with other countries in this way that we can continue to improve our own framework, to ensure that we remain at the forefront of the renewable technology revolution.”