East Yorkshire’s bid to become a manufacturing hub for the booming new offshore wind turbine industry has suffered a blow after a leading producer of turbines announced it will site its new UK factory in Scotland.
Spanish energy giant Gamesa said yesterday it will locate its £125m turbine factory in Edinburgh, creating 1,000 new jobs north of the border and ending months of speculation over which part of the North Sea coast would secure the investment.
The decision is a major blow to the Humber region, which has already enticed German manufacturer Siemens to plan a new factory in Hull and remains hopeful the supply chain opportunities might draw in other turbine firms.
Gamesa’s decision to choose Edinburgh comes just days after the Government announced the Scottish capital will be the home of Britain’s new Green Investment Bank, dashing the hopes of several Yorkshire cities which had hoped to host the prestigious new institution.
“This is disappointing news, coming so soon after the Coalition awarded the Green Investment Bank to Edinburgh,” said Hull North MP Diana Johnson. “But Hull still stands to be a leading hub for renewable energy with Siemens and their supply chain.”
A gleeful Alex Salmond was told of the decision by Gamesa’s global chairman Jorge Calvet yesterday morning, and described it as a “validation” of the Scottish Government’s pursuit of a low-carbon economy.
“I’m delighted that Gamesa has chosen Scotland and the fantastic Port of Leith as its preferred location for the manufacture of its new model of offshore wind turbines,” the Scottish First Minister said.
“This is terrific news, meaning around 800 jobs and 150 million euro of investment in Scotland.”
A number of global turbine manufacturers have been circling the UK for several years following the massive expansion in offshore wind farms proposed by the previous Labour Government.
Gamesa opened a research and development facility in Glasgow two years ago, but had previously said it would assess locations all along the east coast of Britain for its main manufacturing centre.
The new Able Marine Park on the south bank of the Humber was one of the possible sites.
Mark Lazarowicz, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, said the decision to pick Leith was “an example of how the location of the UK Green Investment Bank in Scotland is likely to attract more inward investment to the city.”
Prime Minister David Cameron, in Scotland yesterday to speak at the Scottish Conservative party conference, said the decision was “fantastic news for Scotland and shows the UK remains an attractive place for foreign investment.”
US technology giant GE and French firm Alstom are still considering where to locate their own UK turbine factories.