The MoU is a step towards establishing a factory in Scotland that will manufacture the company’s 5MW turbines for offshore projects in the United Kingdom, Areva said, complementing its Le Havre facilities that will supply France, Belgium and more southerly UK projects.
“Areva has chosen to locate its future facility in East Scotland to optimise logistics costs for UK projects and to benefit from a growing cluster of offshore supply chain businesses in the area,” the company said in a statement.
David Cameron may well try to put a brave face on the latest announcement, especially when taken in context with the Scottish Independence debate, but the fact that Alex Salmond has managed to pull off another coup is no great surprise...
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A specific location for the plant is yet to be decided, but it is believed that it will manufacture turbine blades and nacelles. Areva said the new plant will form part of the group’s strategy to establish a manufacturing base that will cover the European market from three main industrial hubs in Germany, in Bremerhaven, France, in Le Havre, and the UK, in Eastern Scotland.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Scotland shares Areva's vision of a cleaner tomorrow. Today's announcement provides a further boost to Scotland's position as one of Europe's key locations for offshore wind and takes us another significant step further in achieving our ambitious carbon reduction target.”
Meanwhile, the UK’s prime minister, David Cameron, who has been accused of jeopardising the UK’s energy sector by failing to give out a clear message on renewables, welcomed the announcement: “I am determined that Britain competes and thrives in the global race and this shows that the UK remains an attractive place for foreign investment,” he said. “Growth of the renewable energy sector isn't just good for our environment, it's good for our economy too.”
And, in an apparent bid to highlight Scotland’s dependence on the rest of the UK before Scottish residents vote on independence in 2014, Cameron added: “In addition to the economic security that comes from being part of one of the world's most successful unions, this makes Scotland an obvious place for companies like Areva to invest in."