Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) - owner of the world’s largest off-shore wind turbine - looks likely to pull out of Methil’s Energy Park.
It was announced yesterday (Thursday) that the industry giant, which set up shop at the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre back in 2012, has been in talks with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult to transfer ownership of the 7MW test turbine.
We are optimistic the turbine will provide unrivalled opportunity to develop understanding of operations and maintenance of offshore wind turbines in UK industry and academia
ORE Catapult is the UK’s flagship technology innovation and research centre for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy. The company hopes to acquire the turbine for research purposes which would enable considerable training and development of skills vital for the offshore wind industry.
In a statement, the group said: “Upon completion of the agreement, the Methil turbine would become the world’s most advanced, open access, offshore wind turbine dedicated to research. It would provide UK industry and academia with unrivalled opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of operations and maintenance of offshore wind turbines and thus drive down the cost of delivering clean energy from offshore wind.”
It is a major blow for the town, which had hoped to see hundreds of jobs created following the South Korean company’s decision to locate to Levenmouth.
A spokesman for SHI said: “We are in discussion with the ORE Catapult... and are optimistic the turbine will provide unrivalled opportunity to develop understanding of operations and maintenance of offshore wind turbines in UK industry and academia.”
ORE Catapult will shortly be seeking quotations through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) for Operations & Maintenance support for the turbine in the event of completion of the transfer of ownership.
The news has not come as a surprise to campaign group Scotland Against Spin, which told the Mail: “The turbine has barely operated since its erection, first because of a blade failure and then because in most wind directions it produced too much noise to comply with a noise condition to protect local residents.
“Erecting an almost 200m high turbine within a few hundred metres of peoples’ homes was always going to mean trouble. Engineers have also wondered how such a location can replicate conditions 10 km out in the North Sea for the purposes of testing.
“Now that Samsung are giving up, the temptation will be to blame Westminster and to call for yet more public funding. But throwing more good money after bad is no solution. The Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Fife Council have some hard questions to answer. Why on earth didn’t they carry out due diligence on the Samsung project and the economic prospects for Scottish offshore wind before gambling with public money?”