A new £12.5 million (14 million euros) centre to develop next-generation offshore wind technology in Scotland was officially opened by First Minister Alex Salmond and Jorge Calvet, Chairman and CEO of leading international turbine manufacturer Gamesa.
The Spanish-based company has located its Offshore Wind Technology Centre at Strathclyde Business Park, in Bellshill, some eight miles from Glasgow city centre and is already employing 40 engineers. Gamesa hopes to be employing more than 100 staff by the end of this year, rising to 180 within three years.
Work at the Technology Centre is dedicated to the design and development of the company's offshore wind platform G14X-6-7.0 MW.
The official opening took place at the close of the two-day Scottish Low Carbon Investment conference, where more than 100 speakers, including Nobel Laureate and former American Vice-President Al Gore, and around 600 delegates gathered to discuss the opportunities and challenges of financing clean-tech innovations, including offshore renewable energy.
The First Minister said: "This year has seen another hugely successful low carbon investment conference and I'm determined that we build on the many discussions, from the floor and between individual delegates, to drive forward this exciting industry to greater achievements - to deliver sustainable economic growth and ensure Scotland continues to make a significant contribution to the global fight against damaging climate change.
"I am delighted to join with Sr Calvet, to celebrate the opening by Gamesa - a world-leading turbine manufacturer - of its Offshore Wind Technology Centre at Strathclyde Business Park. I welcome the arrival in Scotland of a company with such a strong reputation in this sector. Clearly this market is highly mobile and Gamesa's decision to develop its next generation turbine technology in Scotland is a strong endorsement of our workforce and of the level of skills and expertise that we can offer inward investors who chose to establish here.
"The Scottish Government, Scottish Development International and our enterprise agencies will continue our work to create the optimum conditions for low carbon investment to ensure we remain well-placed to become an international hub for low carbon expertise and a green energy powerhouse for Europe."
Sr Calvet said: "Our commitment is strong and we are ready to play a role in the offshore wind market. Our Offshore Wind Technology Centre in Glasgow represents an important step in this strategy. Our offshore plans could generate significant local, skilled and sustainable jobs over the coming years.
"I would like to recognise the support and commitment from the Scottish Government and its development agencies. They firmly believe in the ability of this industry to develop real and sustainable economy that provides benefits in our communities. That continued support and commitment, as well as our future customers, will be key in this market."
Agreement with the University of Strathclyde
Today, Gamesa has signed a strategic research partnership agreement with the University of Strathclyde for a research cluster in the Doctoral Training Centre of Wind Energy Systems.
Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde and co-chair with the First Minister of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board said: "Today's opening reflects Scotland's position as a key player in the wind energy sector. With vast natural resources, and world-class research and education, we are ideally placed to support this fast-growing industry and maximise the returns from investment and development. The opportunity for our staff and students to collaborate with high quality companies such as Gamesa enhances the impact of both our graduates and our research.
"As a leading international technological university, Strathclyde is committed to working in close partnership with industry to deliver solutions to global energy challenges. We are delighted to be Gamesa's first university partner in Scotland and it's a great pleasure to be welcoming the team to Glasgow."
Gamesa is working to launch two offshore platforms - G11X-5.0 MW and G14X-6/7.0 MW - and has announced that the UK will be the centre of its offshore wind business, with plans to invest over 150 million euro here by 2014. The company estimates the construction and development of its offshore wind business in the United Kingdom will create over 1,000 direct jobs and another 800 indirect jobs at local suppliers.
The Offshore Technology Centre of Gamesa is supported by £1.5 million of Regional Selective Assistance funding from the Scottish Government. It was officially opened this evening by the First Minister and Gamesa's Chairman and CEO, Jorge Calvet, following the two-day Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference in Edinburgh at which both spoke.
Gamesa plans the construction of a blade manufacturing plant in United Kingdom (location, under study) and engaging in offshore logistics from a number of UK ports, around which it will locate its wind turbine O&M operations.
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