Businesses which collectively employ hundreds of local workers confirm potential economic boost of green energy scheme
Businesses across the South West employing hundreds of local workers have backed a major wind farm proposal in the region ahead of crucial Council decisions expected later this Spring.
And Vattenfall, the developer of the £190mn South Kyle Wind Farm, has confirmed that dozens of businesses across Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway have already shown interest in winning business with the scheme if Scottish Ministers give the 50-turbine scheme the green light.
These include a major port, civil engineering companies, wind turbine inspection specialists and other key business organisations.
Piers Guy, Vattenfall’s Head of Development in the UK, said: “We have a strong commitment to support local businesses in the development of our wind farms and I am delighted that the South Kyle Wind Farm proposal has generated so much interest.”
One of those companies is AAT Wind Energy Ltd which provides maintenance and inspection service for wind turbine safety and lifting equipment and employ 14 people in the area.
Eddie Devlin, Company Director, AAT Wind Energy Limited, said: “The onshore wind industry has created opportunities for local businesses during times of recession and austerity and the additional investment by Vattenfall in such a large project would provide further benefits throughout Ayrshire at a time when investment is scarce.”
Gavin Money, Commercial Director, Barr Quarries Limited, who employ 380 people, 170 of which work in the South West Scotland area said: “We have supplied over 150,000m³ of ready mix concrete to wind farms across the south west of Scotland to construct turbine foundations. In addition, we have constructed access roads within these wind farms through our Surfacing & Civil Engineering business. The renewables industry has become a growing market for our products and services which can be supplied from a number of our quarries located throughout Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway.
“The emergence of Vattenfall in South West Scotland would create a number of business opportunities for us at Barr Quarries and signify one of Europe’s largest generators of energy having a presence and contributing to our local economy. We are pleased to support Vattenfall’s South Kyle Wind Energy Project and believe it would create mutual value and benefit to our business.”
Stuart Cresswell, ABP Port Manager Ayr and Troon, who employ 26 people in Ayr and Troon can also see the benefits that the wind farm could bring. He said: "ABP's involvement with wind projects such as South Kyle Wind farm offers the Port of Ayr a significant level of work for extended periods. It is also clear that many other local businesses are benefiting from this work.
“The increase in the port's dealings in the renewable energy sector over recent years has been crucial in securing investment and jobs. “Vattenfall's efforts to work with local firms and regional development groups to improve employment opportunities is a very welcome approach and we are hopeful that this is recognised and taken into consideration when the application to construct South Kyle is being considered.”
Gary Russell, Director of GTR Contracts Ltd who are located in Dumfries and employ 50 people, said: “We at GTR Contracts Ltd provide road maintenance and winter maintenance services on many wind farms throughout Scotland and we strongly believe that local companies really do benefit from wind farm developments.
“Working on wind farms is a huge part of our business and with the sites being operational for over 20 years, this is a genuine opportunity for securing long term contracts.
“We are just one of a number of local businesses who are directly benefiting from the many wind farm developments and this can only be a good thing for both local businesses and the local economy.”
Gordon Mann, Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce, Chief Executive, said: “We would encourage any business not yet registered with Vattenfall to do so as we need to ensure that as much of their investment remains in the south west. This can only be done by local companies engaging with the developers and understanding what they require.”
Val Russell, Chief Executive of Ayrshire Chamber, said: “Vattenfall have been involved with Ayrshire Chamber as Partners for Business for a number of years. We are pleased at their attempts to maximise the use of local businesses in the construction phase of a major infrastructure project.”
Late last year Vattenfall launched a campaign, with the backing of the two Chambers, to register the interest of 600 businesses across South West Scotland. Already more than 70 firms have expressed an interest.
Vattenfall submitted a planning application for the South Kyle Wind Farm to the Scottish Government in September 2013. It is hoped that the Scottish Ministers will consent the project later this year. Supply chain events are being planned for the beginning of May 2014. Further information will be released in due course.