Wind Power Inflates Employment in Scotland

Argyll and the Islands Enterprise (AIE) is committing £410,000 towards the continued development of the Vestas wind turbine manufacturing plant in Kintyre. (All figures are in British Pounds. GB£ 1 converts to US$ 1.6.)

Argyll, Scotland – August 7, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The funding package from AIE includes £184,500 from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Efficiency program. It is funded by the European Union (EU), which aims to encourage businesses to upgrade their processes in order to improve efficiency. This latest development at the plant will cost £1.4 million and will allow Vestas to expand their product range and increase production capacity. Tom Pederson, managing director of Vestas-Celtic said that further investment needs to be made in the manufacturing facility and in staff training to meet the increasing demand for larger, more robust wind turbines. “The trend in turbines is for greater capacity; and we are responding to this by equipping our plant with the correct infrastructure to deliver the V80 turbine, which is much larger and has a two megawatt capacity,” Pederson said. “We have been successful in securing contracts for offshore wind farms at North Hoyle and Scroby Sands, which both require V80 turbines; and we envisage winning further offshore and onshore contracts as a result of this investment.” AIE and HIE spent £9.4 million, with £3.5million coming from the EU, constructing the 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility on the site of the former RAF Machrihanish base. It is leased to Vestas-Celtic, the Scottish entity of Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems, which invested a further £3 million equipping the plant with production equipment. Since the plant opened in early 2002, employment levels have exceeded the expectations of 120 new jobs, and brought a much-needed boost to Campbeltown, a community which has suffered high levels of sustained unemployment in recent years. At present, the Vestas wind turbine manufacturing plant in Kintyre employs 186 staff. “The Kintyre peninsula remains a priority for AIE which is why we continue to support Vestas-Celtic in terms of developing the plant’s infrastructure and assisting with staff training to meet the demands of a constantly developing industry,” said Ken Abernethy, chief executive of AIE. “We are delighted to see employment levels continuing to rise which in turn brings wider economic benefits to the Kintyre area.”
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