Samsung 'considers offshore future'

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) today confirmed its is "considering its future" in the European offshore wind sector, days after Recharge revealed the Korean industrial giant will conduct a strategic review of its plans.

A spokesperson for Samsung Heavy Industries told Recharge: “We are currently developing our business strategy and are considering our future within the European offshore wind sector.

"It is not true that we are pulling back from the offshore wind business. We will keep working to secure a high-performance prototype and focus on developing new technology.

"We have made a rapid progress so far and the immediate focus is on quality not quantity as we remain in the early stages of the offshore wind industry.

“Reviewing the business strategy is completely different to giving up the business."

SHI's statement came as Recharge learned it has iced plans to test a 7MW wind turbine drive-train at the UK's National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), being developed alongside the prototype turbine in place at Methil, Scotland.

The review will leave the Korean group out of the running for big Round 3 UK projects that are now on the drawing board.

It casts a further shadow over the future of Samsung's plans at Energy Park Fife in Methil, where it has sited the 7MW prototype and said it would consider building a manufacturing base.

Officials in Scotland have been unable to say that it is business as usual for SHI there.

Development agency Scottish Enterprise, which set up the energy park, said it would not comment on "any speculation regarding Samsung and is continuing to work closely with the company to support its plans for offshore wind".

The Scottish Government said only its agencies would maintain "strong relationships" with SHI, without elaborating further.

Samsung's pull-back from offshore wind against the background of a smaller-than-expected European market and strong competition would be a blow for the government of Alex Salmond.

In January 2012 Salmond hailed the Korean group's plans for Methil as a significant boost to Scotland's ambitions to be a global offshore wind hub.

Those ambitions have already suffered one blow when Korean compatriot Doosan ended its own plans for the sector in Scotland – a development also first reported by Recharge.