Samsung Plans Offshore Wind For Scotland

Scotland isn’t pussyfooting around on clean energy, aiming to meet 100 percent of its electricity needs with the green stuff by 2020. And as we recently reported, the country is making impressive progress toward that goal. But part of the sales pitch for this policy is that it will create good-paying clean energy jobs. How’s that going? Thanks to Samsung, better now than it was a week ago.

Scotland said the Heavy Industries division of the giant Korean company had agreed to base its first European wind project—the development of a 7-megawatt (MW) offshore wind turbine—in Methil, a coastal town in Fife, just across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh. Scotland’s gung-ho green first minister, Alex Salmond, heralded the news, declaring the £100 million ($158 million) project would lead to more than 500 jobs while giving a big boost to the country’s effort to lure a collection of wind power supply-chain companies to the new Fife Energy Park.

image via Shutterstock

David Brown Gear Systems has already committed to the site, and the Samsung announcement included word that it had hooked up on a “multimillion pound deal” with the Scottish company to supply gearbox systems for the next-gen offshore wind turbine. Now Salmond and a whole collection of players pushing renewables—including Scottish Enterprise, an agency that has poured £17 million ($27 million) into the Fife site—are aiming to keep the ball rolling.

“Scottish Enterprise, Fife Council and Scottish Development International are committed to work with Samsung Heavy Industries and David Brown to secure further investment in the form of a new wind turbine facility and associated gearbox plant at the Fife Energy Park at Methil—a significant move in that it could see much needed high-value employment in this area of Scotland,” Salmond said in a statement.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.


  • Reply February 4, 2012

    Eccentric scientist

    Are they planning grid batteries or some green alternative peak power source? u00a0Just curious as to how they plan tou00a0implementu00a0such technology. I haven’t heard anything of the sort but I assume they must have some sort of plan seeing how quickly they are moving to meet their goal of 100%u00a0renewableu00a0energy by 2012.

    • Reply February 4, 2012

      Pete Danko

      Great question, Eccentric one. It prompted me to take a look at the “2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy” that Scotland has published. I haven’t had a chance to read through it carefully in its entirety, but a key qualifier emerges quickly: “We are aiming for an output equivalent to 100% of Scotland’s demand for electricity to be met from renewables, but it will be very important to understand that this does not mean Scotland will be 100% dependent on renewables generation: renewable energy is part of a wider electricity mix.” From what I see (again, reading through the document quickly), they aim to cut demand by about 12 percent; use about 50 percent conventional sources — gas — in order to balance the grid; use CCS to grab the bulk of the carbon from the conventional sources; use renewables to produce twice the amount of energy they will need; export huge amounts of power to European neighbors. So their “100 percent renewables” target is assuming getting credits for their exported renewables — and it’s assuming grid advances that will allow a high percentage of those renewables to be used domestically and abroad.

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