How much more can Scotland benefit from wind and tidal turbine fields if we don’t build them?


In a recent piece I wrote for the umpteenth time applauding new signs of growth in Scottish renewables activities including two which were to be the biggest in the world:

A second ‘biggest in the world’ for Scotland’s renewable energy sector

One respondent wrote below my article:

‘The turbines are German and the float system is Spanish. Scottish industrial benefit will therefore be minimal.’

Though my article was about really just about supply, I have to admit it is a factor to be unhappy about. I know the earlier de-industrialisation of Scotland by the Tories underlies much of our current limitations and the Scottish Government has been pretty much powerless to redress that but it did seem an important reservation. Mind you, the Scottish Government have played a part in the recovery of steel and aluminium manufacturing recently.

However, a second respondent wrote:

‘The float system is a Cobra Semi-Spar concrete structure. Are you sure it will not be constructed in Scotland?’

The first didn’t reply so I don’t know the answer to that but then a third wrote very helpfully:

‘There is considerable activity in the wind turbine field in Scotland

Siemens, Livingstone
Samsung, Fife
Mitsubishi, Hunterston
King span (Proven) Stewarton
Dong Energy, Campbelltown
Gaia , Port Dundas, Glasgow
Gamesa, Bellshill’

BIFAB Fife / Stornoway
Scottish Power (Iberdrola)

So maybe it’s not as bad as it seemed at first.

Then on March 10th, the Scottish Energy Minister wrote in the Daily Business Group:

‘Scots wind farm know-how could be sold overseas. Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse made the assertion after approving an eight turbine offshore wind farm off the south-east of Aberdeen that will create 110 jobs in assembly, installation and operation. The floating development by Kincardine Offshore Windfarm will have a generating capacity up to a maximum of 50 MW – enough to power the equivalent of almost 56,000 homes. Mr Wheelhouse said: “It will also cement our place as one of the world’s leading nations in the innovation and deployment of floating offshore wind. If the technology can be demonstrated at scale, it has huge potential to help Scotland meet its energy needs and to develop a supply chain that can service opportunities elsewhere in Europe and in markets such as South East Asia and North America.’

I suppose there is a kind of know-how beyond manufacturing know-how whereby Scots learn how to integrate and make systems work so the Minister’s claim has something in it.


6 thoughts on “How much more can Scotland benefit from wind and tidal turbine fields if we don’t build them?

  1. Dick Winchester March 13, 2017 / 8:40 am

    The answer as to whether the Cobra floats might be built in Scotland is no they won’t.

    As to the list of companies involved in wind turbine “activity” then I’d point out the majority are foreign owned & don’t manufacture here. One does though build offshore foundations although is struggling at the moment and one builds very small scale turbines for domestic or farm type use.


    • johnrobertson834 March 13, 2017 / 9:52 am

      Thanks Dick.
      I agree we need to get more involved. Who should trigger and promote this?


  2. Clydebuilt March 13, 2017 / 8:50 am


    got following from ScottishPower Renewables website

    ScottishPower Renewables is part of Iberdrola , one of the world’s largest utilities and the leading wind energy producer.

    Committed to sustainable value creation for all stakeholders Iberdrola has a renewables capacity of over 24,900 megawatts (MW). Managing the global offshore wind business from Glasgow, ScottishPower Renewables is responsible for progressing onshore wind and marine energy projects in the UK and offshore windfarms throughout the world, managing the development, construction and operation of all projects.


  3. broadbield March 13, 2017 / 9:23 am

    I too would like to see more homegrown investment in renewables, but perhaps there is more of it than some suggest: (these two are about the same report)

    Unfortunately, the UK government has torpedoed the Renewable industry while still providing huge subsidies to fossil fuels and of course nuclear.


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