June 4, 2020

Tory minister under fire over £3billion sale of wind farm contract to Denmark

By Chris McCall | Daily Record | 4 JUN 2020 | www.dailyrecord.co.uk

A Tory minister has been accused of taking Scots for fools after he claimed that handing a £3billion wind farm contract to Denmark would create hundreds of jobs.

Gary Smith of the GMB union said of energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng: “Does he think our heads button up the back?”

Smith said the promise of a green energy “jobs bonanza” for Scotland had been betrayed.

He added: “The BiFab yards in Fife and Arnish lie idle and the jobs bonanza goes elsewhere.”

Smith hit out after power giant SSE Renewables chose Danish company MHI Vestas to build 114 turbines for the giant Seagreen wind farm planned for a site 27 miles off the Angus coast.

The job of building the blades for the turbines has gone to a company on the Isle of Wight. So far, only service operations will be based in Scotland.

But Kwarteng still hailed the SEE decision, saying: “Seagreen will create hundreds of jobs while powering millions of homes and helping to cut CO2 emissions, highlighting the key role offshore wind will play in our journey to a net-zero emissions UK economy.”

Smith said: “The contract award makes an urgent review of the wind power strategies of Holyrood and Westminster an absolute necessity. They’ve failed.

“The whole thing has turned into a gigantic rip- off for the power giants – and the betrayal of the promises of Scotland becoming ‘the Saudi Arabia of Renewables’ with a jobs bonanza to go with it.”

BiFab builds large-scale equipment for the offshore industry but its mothballed yards lost out on the Seagreen work. The Scottish Government helped keep the firm out of administration in 2018 and took a minority stake in the business.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government has been in regular contact with the company,

investors and relevant parties in our work to ensure a strong, sustainable future for BiFab.

“By working with the company to secure new business, we hope to provide the best means of creating jobs in the longer term.

“As the Seagreen project has not yet finalised its fabrication contract, it would not be appropriate to comment at this time.”

SSE Renewable boss Jim Smith said: “Seagreen will contribute towards building a cleaner, more resilient economy.”

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2020/06/04/tory-minister-under-fire-over-3billion-sale-of-wind-farm-contract-to-denmark/