With a huge offshore wind project coming to the Scottish highlands, GWO working at heights course skills are once again proving a wise investment for contractors and engineers, however, while operations and maintenance may be a job for local technicians, it seems that some manufacturing could be moved elsewhere, taken away from the nearby communities.
A Fife-based construction yards faced problems last year as they came close to financial collapse, however, workers unions have warned that failure to be given the contracts for the new project, which is costing £2 billion to construct, could result in the yard being completely killed off, causing a loss of livelihood for many local workers, according to the BBC.
At present, it is rumoured that the owner will be contracting the manufacture of NnG turbine jackets to Indonesia, rather than working with the Fife-based yards, something that union spokespeople have described as ‘a slap in the face’. Awarding a contract to the Fife yard could mean as many as 1,000 jobs are saved, offering financial security for growth for the yard also.
A spokesman for the GMB union explained that the Fife yards were primed to help deliver the next generation of renewables energies: “We have the yards, we have the skills and we have the communities ready to play their part in tackling the climate emergency. They must think again and do what's right for Fife, for Scotland and for the environment.”
For many, the environmental impact of choosing to manufacture these elements in Indonesia is just as compelling an issue, especially given the clean, green energy relation of the project. According to Commonspace, transporting the wind turbine jackets from Indonesia to Scotland will equate to as much of a climate emissions impact as 35,000 new cars on the roads.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that of course she supports the campaign for the jibs to stay in Scotland, and that she would ask the owner to honour promises made in its proposal for the project to the Scottish people as claimed by the union, however, that getting directly involved in the business’s procurement process would not be in anyone’s interests.
After all, at present, these reports of the manufacturing of the huge steel jackets that the turbines will sit on being done in Indonesia has not been confirmed at present, with a spokesperson for the business that it was ‘speculation’ and that those chosen to deliver on the project would be named only at the end of the procurement process.
The construction yard in question was mothballed last year, but are continuing conversations with the owner in hopes of a positive outcome for the yard and workers. In March, another project for a multi-million-pound wind farm in the Moray Firth announced that the Fife-based yard had not won any of the work in manufacturing for the project, choosing instead to go with a Newcastle-based yard.
The new wind turbines are to be situated 10 miles from the Fife coast and are projected to generate enough electricity to power a city as large as Edinburgh.