Call on SNP Government to do more to attract renewable energy manufacturers to Highlands and Islands

6 April 2010


Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Peter Peacock has called on the SNP Government to do more to attract renewable energy manufacturers to the region.

His comments came after German manufacturing giant Siemens announced that it would be developing an offshore-wind-turbine production plant in the north of England to meet future demand, creating 700 jobs.

The firm said it was exploring sites on Englandís east coast and north-east and was working closely with regional development agencies.

The new manufacturing plant will produce the next generation of turbines for offshore windfarms.

Mr Peacock said:

"Whilst an announcement about jobs anywhere in the UK is always welcome, I feel an opportunity has been missed for the Highlands and Islands, one of the UKís foremost areas for wind energy.

"The Nigg yard would be the ideal location for wind turbine manufacture.

"Indeed, Nigg is the best docking facility in Europe for such development and if the Siemens announcement means Nigg is not going to get the investment it needs, that would be disastrous and a real blow to our hopes in this area.

"The SNP Government needs to do everything possible to attract wind turbine manufacturers to the Highlands and Islands.

"Scottish Enterprise (SE) has been given a lead role in attracting such development to Scotland, working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and they need to devote the resources necessary to make sure it is the Highlands and Islands that becomes the pre-eminent centre for renewables development."

He added: "Alex Salmond has boasted about Scotland's reneawables potential but these words will be empty unless the jobs and real economic benefits that can be derived from manufacturing marine and wind energy equipment are secured here."

Peter Peacock has written to the Minister responsible asking for an explanation of what discussion SE and HIE have had with Siemens and whether Scotland has been beaten in the race by the development agencies in England, to secure much needed renewables investment.

He is also seeking a guarantee that recent cuts to the SE and HIE budgets are not affecting their capacity to win this work for the Highlands and Islands.



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