The Scottish Government has been urged to protect renewable energy businesses after it was reported that CS Wind will cut up to 73 jobs at its Machrihanish plant.

The Argyll and Bute factory is the only UK facility manufacturing onshore and offshore wind towers and counts big renewables players Vattenfall and Orsted among its customers.

 

But its South Korean owners, who bought the plant in 2016 and made a pre-tax profit of £7.1 million last year, are said to be planning to lay off three-quarters of the 94-strong workforce.

Scottish Green Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie said: “This is devastating news for Campbletown, and a major blow for Scotland’s renewables manufacturing capacity.

“The UK Government left the renewables industry to the mercy of market forces and the result is an insecure supply chain which can impact communities.

 

“The Scottish Government can do so much more to build a sustainable future for our communities by mobilising public investment into our energy system. That means bold expansion of the public sector, such as we propose in our Scottish Green New Deal.

“We owe it to our communities to build them a low carbon future, creating sustainable jobs in the process. That work needs to start now.”

Accounts lodged by CS Wind in April show directors saw the future outlook for the next financial year as “positive”. It posted pre-tax profits in 2018 of £7.1 million – up from a loss of £191,000 in 2017.

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The business has made a £27 million investment in the facility since taking over, while also having deals with Danish firm Orsted and Swedish company Vattenfall.

It has blamed the move on challenging market conditions for onshore towers and difficulties with supply chain companies in the offshore sector.

The next potential order for the offshore build schedule is in 2020, it said.

A CS Wind spokeswoman said: “CS Wind UK is actively working with Unite the union, Argyll and Bute Council, Highland and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Engineering and the Westminster and Scottish governments on finding effective solutions and to support the workforce and wider local community impacted by this announcement.”

Charlie Macdonald, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The news of the redundancy notices affecting three-quarters of the workforce at CS Wind in Campbeltown is a major blow to Scotland’s renewables manufacturing capacity.

“CS Wind is another example of the spaghetti bowl of multi-national interests calling the shots in our nation’s renewables sector with scant regard for workers and communities.

“There needs to be urgent intervention by the Scottish Government because if the scale of these job losses goes unchallenged, not only is there a major cloud over the future of the factory in Campbeltown but also over Scotland’s green manufacturing capacity.”

Scotland’s energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “This will be a very difficult time for those workers served redundancy notices at the CS Wind tower facility in Machrihanish.

“I have spoken with CS Wind UK management and committed to do all we can to support the company in their attempts to secure future work for the site.

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“We have also been working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Argyll and Bute Council to support infrastructure investment locally in an effort to enhance infrastructure of the site.”



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