A call has been made to Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) for an update on its giant prototype turbine at Methil - just days before the mammoth structure is due to be plugged into the National Grid.
Next month, bosses at the company will look to link the 7MW turbine into the national electricity grid, marking another landmark for the world’s largest turbine, which was completed last October.
However, despite the move, questions have been raised about the 196m tall structure, just weeks after one of the blades had to be removed.
Both residents and town leaders have called on the company to provide the local community with un update on the progress of the turbine, and have asked for assurances following repairs to the blade.
But, despite these calls and requests for more information about the nature of the supposed fault, SHI has remained tight-lipped, with no statement being made available to the Mail at the time of going to press.
Political representatives, including Lindsay Roy MP and Claire Baker MSP, have made an appeal to SHI for more information about the turbine to help allay the fears of some of the residents living near to it.
In a letter submitted to Graham Construction, which built the off-shore demonstator, Mr Roy said he was keen to allay the fears of some residents and asked for a response as soon as possible.
And commenting, he said: “I am perturbed that there has been no response from the company when the East Fife Mail tried to get a statement and I will follow this up directly with Samsung.”
Ms Baker said she would also be writing a letter to SHI asking for more information, adding: “Samsung at Methil Docks is an important project that has the potential to bring many more jobs to the local community.
“That is why it is important that all concerns should be addressed to ensure there is transparency for local residents.
“The regeneration of the Levenmouth area is so important and the renewables sector gives us opportunities in Fife that we should take advantage off.”
She concluded: “I will be writing to Samsung to ask for an update on the situation.”
In January, one of the three blades on the turbine had to be removed because of what representatives for SHI called ‘routine maintainence’.
Commenting at the time, a spokesman said: “Commissioning of the offshore prototype turbine has been slightly delayed due to ongoing engineering works.
“We have removed one of the blades and expect to re-install it in time for commissioning in early February.”
The blade was repaired and re-installed earlier this month, but SHI has been reluctant to make any statement regarding current and future developments for the turbine.
Also commenting on the situation was Alistair Suttie, chairman of Leven Community Council, who said it would be in everyone’s best interests if SHI was to be clear with the community about the status of the turbine.
He said: “Samsung should be more open with the public and keep the local community up to date.
“If folk have concerns and they don’t get a straight answer, that only leads them to believe something worse has happened.
“I can understand if information is commercially sensitive but some clarification would be helpful in this situation.
“It would be in Samsung’s interest to be more open and keep the local community onside.”
Two local residents have been in touch with the Mail to voice their concerns over the turbine.
One reader submitted photographs which were taken just days before the blade was removed.
The father-of-two (54) said: “My mate’s house backs on to the yard and I took the opportunity to take a few photographs of men abseiling, just to show how massive the turbine is.
“Afterwards, when I looked, I could quite clearly see a tear. It definitely didn’t look like part of a design and I thought they must have been working on that – why else would they be dangling and swinging about in stormy weather in January?”
And another Mail reader, Alister Rankin, said: “Do those responsible for the giant turbine at Methil not consider it prudent to tell local people what is going on?
“It was originally supposed to start operating at the end of last year.’’