November 19, 2012 / 2:10 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-France's Areva picks Scotland for wind turbine factory

* Scottish factory to make 5-MW turbines for UK projects

* Plant to open 2015/16, creating 750 jobs

* Areva says to invest tens of millions of euros

PARIS/LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Areva plans to locate its third European factory for producing offshore wind turbines in eastern Scotland, the French nuclear firm announced on Monday, in a boost for a UK industry hit recently by other firms putting such plans on hold.

Areva signed a memorandum of understanding with Scottish Enterprise, a public body of the Scottish government, to build a factory producing 5-megawatt (MW) turbines by 2015 or 2016.

The plant, whose exact location has not been chosen, could create up to 750 jobs and is expected to cost Areva several tens of millions of euros to build, Chief Executive Luc Oursel said.

The news comes five months after Danish wind turbine maker Vestas pulled the plug on its factory at the Port of Sheerness in southeast England, citing a lack of orders.

Pressure on Britain’s offshore wind industry rose further last month when a group of seven multinational green energy investors, including Areva, warned the government they may take their money elsewhere if state support for green energy fades.

Areva’s Scottish plant will cater for offshore wind projects in Britain, which plans to build around 18 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2020.

The company said negotiations with developers of Scottish wind farms, such as Scottish Power and Vattenfall , could start in 2013 or 2014.

“I warmly welcome Areva’s announcement today which is brilliant news for Scotland,” said Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron. “I am determined that Britain competes and thrives in the global race and this shows that the UK remains an attractive place for foreign investment.”

Areva owns an offshore wind turbine plant at Germany’s Bremerhaven and plans to build a factory in Le Havre in northern France.

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