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Samsung chooses Scotland for EU offshore wind base

Korean firm’s inward wind venture is worth up to GBP 100m

Samsung has chosen Scotland to develop next generation wind technology
Samsung has chosen Scotland as its base to develop the next generation technology of offshore wind turbines

Korean giant Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) is to base its first European offshore wind project in Scotland. The inward venture is worth up to GBP 100m and expected to create more than 500 new jobs.

UK first minister Alex Salmond announced the news at the Scottish Offshore Wind and Supply Chain Conference in Aberdeen, where he was delivering a keynote speech.

In conjunction with its decision to develop its offshore wind technology at the Energy Park in Fife, Scotland, SHI has 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.

SHI will now work closely with economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise and Fife Council under a strategic agreement to develop the company’s 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. SHI activities at Methil will also be subject to the appropriate planning consent.

Samsung’s announcement follows investments in Scotland by other companies, including Taqa, Avaloq, FMC Technologies, Aker, Ineos, PetroChina, Dell, Gamesa, BNY Mellon, State Street, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and Mitsubishi Powers Systems.

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.

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, said: “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. This is a huge vote of confidence by a major and well respected global business in the UK supply chain and ultimately a boost for employment and future job creation. I am confident that Samsung has the offshore market know-how and scale of resources to be a leading player in the offshore wind market and I am delighted to be working with them to achieve this.”

Lena Wilson, Scottish Enterprise chief executive, said: “We are delighted that Samsung Heavy Industries has indentified Scotland as the location for developing its offshore wind technology. Not only does this project further emphasise Scotland's leading position as a hub of expertise for test and demonstration of next generation offshore wind technology but it underlines the fact that we boast an excellent business environment for offshore wind with leading facilities such as the Energy Park in Fife.

“We acquired the site in Fife six years ago and, alongside Fife Council, have invested some GBP 17m to date to develop the industrial land into a 21st century facility for the developing renewables sector. Under our new strategic agreement we will work closely with SHI and look to further enhance the Energy Park to ensure it offers the very best facilities for offshore wind manufacturing and assembly."