By Allan Crow
Energy workers and the wider community in Leven Kirkcaldy and Burntisland
have challenged French multinational EDF to attend a community meeting this
week to respond to reports that work from the £2billion offshore windfarm,
NNG, will not provide jobs in Fife.
The meeting comes after revelations that the electric utility company plans
to ship work in fabricating wind turbine jackets abroad to Indonesia –
instead of building them in Fife yards, which are currently lying empty and
idle a mere 10-miles from the site of the proposed windfarm which will host
The meeting takes place at Buckhaven Community Education Centre on Thursday
from 6.00 pm when an alliance of trade unionists, community groups, elected
representatives and environmental campaigners will come together to demand
answers from EDF.
The ‘Fife Ready for Renewal’ campaign is comprised of the Scottish Trades
Union Congress (STUC), GMB and Unite, and is attracting support from
community groups and the wider public, as well as environmental campaign
group, Friends of the Earth.
EDF’s plan has come under intense scrutiny, as it will see massive steel
structures shipped abroad two at a time per ship – requiring over 30
journeys – generating carbon emissions equivalent to millions of cars on
Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the STUC, said: “This is an opportunity
for EDF to engage with the community on Thursday, to discuss the future of
the industry in Fife and their plans for construction of the turbine jackets.
There is a proud industrial history in Fife, and workers are standing ready
to help deliver the much needed renewable energy infrastructure.
We urge EDF to do the right thing and listen to the community this
Thursday, and commit to building the jackets here.”
Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister, who was MP for Kirkcaldy
and Cowdenbeath, has thrown his weight behind the yards’ campaign for the
Jobs of the future is one of the key themes in a new book History Of Fife,
written by former Prime Minister and launched this week by Kirkcaldy MP
Mr Brown and co-author, the broadcaster and historian Alistair Moffat have
particularly highlighted the local renewables industry .
He said: “It is nothing less than a national scandal that the contract for
billions of pounds of wind farms a few miles off the coast of Fife is
tipped to be awarded to an Indonesian yard 7000 miles away.
“This is despite promises from both Scottish and UK governments that 60 per
cent of offshore renewable work would come to workers and communities here.
“Near to my home the once-vibrant Burntisland and Methil yards, that for
years built up an expertise in wind turbines, are lying empty.
“And in a devastating blow to Scottish workers, the French state-owned
company EDF is likely to short change local firms when its main contractor
awards Indonesia the manufacturing work for the NnG offshore wind farm
Neart na Gaoithe.”
The order has the potential to create 1000 ‘green’ jobs – and some
estimates are nearer 2000 – at least 500 in the three-year build phase and
1000 jobs in operating and maintaining the 25 year project.
“When installed the turbines will generate enough energy per year to power
the whole of Edinburgh,” added Mr Brown.
“Yet this – the one major infrastructure project that is ready to build in
Scotland next year – is likely to yield only a fraction of its potential
jobs for Scottish manufacturing yards.
“And what will make every family really angry is that we, the British
public, are all paying – soon £520 per family per year – in a special
energy levy to fund the work about to be sent overseas.”
“Burntisland and Methil yards are desperate for the work. And it’s not just
this project that could be lost to the UK. The UK Committee on Climate
Change state that the UK might need up to 7500 offshore wind turbines by
2050 in a net-zero world.
“Unless we get the terms right, and soon, more work will be lost.”