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United Kingdom

Rescue for Vestas tower yard

Wind turbine tower manufacturing is to continue at Macrihanish in Kintyre, a peninsula of west Scotland, now that Welcon, a subsidiary of Danish group Skykon, has taken over the Vestas factory near Campbeltown. Vestas announced its intention to pull out of manufacturing in Scotland in August 2008.

Welcon, a new company, is securing the jobs of the 100-strong Vestas workforce. The deal includes £35 million of private capital investment to build a new factory at the existing site, increasing the production facility by nearly three times its current size. The investment allows for the introduction of new manufacturing techniques and equipment and enables the manufacture of larger towers for the offshore market.

The expansion will boost employment to over 300 jobs in the next two years. Taking account of jobs in supply chain companies, the move could create nearly full employment in the area. Welcon has also received a £9.2 million grant from Scottish Development International and some £500,000 in training support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

"With this investment, Skykon seeks to meet the increasing demand for wind power in the United States and Europe, not least the growth markets in Scotland and Ireland," says Skykon CEO Jesper Oehlenschlager.

"Scotland has in a short period developed into the most positive and interesting market for wind power in Europe. Both the Scottish government and the local energy producers are markedly focused on wind power and expect that 3000 MW will be installed in Scotland over the next four years. We see Campbeltown as a unity platform to realise our goal to be the leading supplier in this market," says Oehlenschlager.

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