French industrial giant, Areva, will build its M5000 offshore wind 5MW turbine in eastern Scotland, it said today. Despite having yet to announce any orders from UK developers, a company spokesperson told Windpower Offshore that "we will build this factory for sure".
Areva hopes to begin producing a range of components, including nacelles and blades, in Scotland from 2015, although the spokesperson added that this is an "approximate" date. Leith is rumoured to be the preferred location, although no information about a specific site has been announced.
A memorandum of understanding setting the stage for the factory has been signed by Scottish Enterprise chief executive, Lena Wilson, and Areva, chief executive, Luc Oursel, with Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, looking on.
Up to 750 "direct jobs" could be created once the Scottish factory is up and running, says Areva. The company has been open about its search for a UK production site for some time.
The Scottish facility will be "similar" to Areva’s Bremerhaven facility, where M5000 components are both manufactured and assembled, for transport direct to offshore projects. The Bremerhaven facility has produced turbines for Alpha Ventus and Global Tech 1. It is also due to supply turbines for Borkum West II, although this project is suffering delay due to grid connection problems.
Areva has yet to announce any UK orders for the M5000 and told Windpower Offshore that it does not know when it will be in a position to report on the outcome of a series of UK bids.
The company’s sole wind turbine is the M5000, designed specifically for the offshore market.