A trade union has slammed the “myth” of a green jobs revolution after Scotlands only wind factory has closed permanently. The UK’s ambition to become the Saudi Arabia of renewables with promises of a wind farm jobs bonanza are evaporating as Britain is at risk of turning into the Venezuela of renewables.
The factory, which employed around 130 people, was the only UK facility manufacturing onshore and offshore wind towers when it was bought by the South Korean company in April 2016 but has been effectively mothballed by its owners since November 2019.
According to recent reports, more than half of the estimated £50bn investment for Boris Johnson’s planned offshore wind farm expansion is expected to go to companies overseas as companies opt for manufacturers in Asia which produce at lower costs.
Much of the electric components are no longer made in Britain partly because most firms specialising in heavy electrical equipment closed down or moved abroad 20-30 years ago. It is thus an effect of the long run decline of the manufacturing sector in the UK.
The other factor is that there has been huge shift in the industry manufacturing turbines. 20 years ago there were at least 30 substantial manufacturers with fringe of many small firms. Today there are 3 large international companies – Vestas, Siemens and GE – plus a fringe of Chinese and Indian suppliers, primarily focusing on local markets.
Boris Johnson’s green industrial revolution will make energy and thus manufacturing ever more expensive, making what little is left in UK manufacturing even less competitive.
A wind turbine factory in Argyll has been permanently closed, with administrators now selling off equipment used at the site.
Owners CS Wind effectively mothballed the Campbeltown factory, which manufactured offshore and onshore wind farm equipment, in the spring of 2020.
The company said “deteriorating market conditions” had led to a lack of new contracts and declining revenues.
All staff have now either left or been made redundant.
The manufacturing plant, located at the Machrihanish Business Park near Campbeltown, was bought by CS Wind, a South Korean firm, in 2016.
At the time it was Britain’s only UK facility for manufacturing onshore and offshore wind towers. …
Assets for sale
CS Wind’s directors said there were “no prospects of any recovery in the market” after placing the business into administration.
A statement from joint administrators Michelle Elliot and Tom MacLennan said they will now market the company’s assets for sale, “including various plant and machinery and a residential property in the heart of Campbeltown that had been used by management for accommodation”.
Pat Rafferty, Scottish Secretary of the Unite union, said the Scottish government sat back and watched from the sideline as the firm went bust.
“It’s high time they accept that on their watch, for over a decade now, there has been minimal green and low-carbon manufacturing jobs directly created in Scotland,” he said.
“There is no jobs revolution – it’s a myth.”