Global wind turbine specialist Gamesa to develop a manufacturing base at the port of Leith, Monday April 02 2012
Global wind turbine specialist Gamesa will
over time invest around £125 million in a manufacturing base
in Leith that could create up to 800 jobs. UK Chief Corporate
Officer, Peter Pantlin explains more...
What is Gamesa?
We're headquartered in Spain and employ about 8,000 people in
more than 50 countries. We're a world leader and certainly in the
top four in this industry. Our main activities involve research and
development, manufacturing the blades and turbines, developing
windfarms and carrying out the operations and maintenance.
Why did you choose Leith?
Over the last year or so we looked at about 11 ports and had
shortlisted a couple. We felt that Leith was better for Gamesa
mainly on cost grounds, but also for possible access to an order
pipeline and proximity to our R&D centre at Strathclyde
University, which is a world leader in this kind of technology. We
have about 60 to 70 engineers there totally focused on developing
the offshore platform. I can't stress enough the fantastic support
we received from both north and south of the border, including the
Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, the ports themselves and
from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Department
for Business, Innovation and Skills and others.
What will happen at Leith if your plans go
We intend to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding that we're
going to be working together and developing this site as a
manufacturing base going forward. The activity we'll be doing there
is manufacturing the blades and the nacelles (the generator units
that sit at the top of the towers). If everything goes to plan, our
best estimate is that we'll have about 800 Gamesa jobs in Leith
over time. When we start manufacturing there's the whole supply
chain on top of that, so we're going to have suppliers from many
different parts of the United Kingdom helping us put all this kit
together and get it out.
How important is this project?
Very. About 18 months ago the company made three important
announcements in relation to the UK. One – it was going to open an
R&D centre in Glasgow, and that was opened by the First
Minister last September. Secondly, the company announced that it
would establish its global offshore wind division HQ in London, and
we moved into the premises at the end of January. The third element
was establishing a manufacturing base in the UK, hence Leith.
Gamesa has histrorically focused on onshore, but its activities in
the UK will also be very focused on offshore – and Leith is a
crucial part of that.