Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Vestas day of action London 17/9/2009

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson at New Scotland yard with GPTU banner

Councillors Johnson and Phoenix at the protest

A splendid PCS banner being unfurled

A supine canine proletarian awaits becoming conscious of itself as a dog both for and in itself

Who's that bloke in the suit?

Miliband's attempt at a spoiler

The article below appears in hard copy and on line Guardian 17/9/2009, well timed to take the wind out of the blades of the Vestas campaign. However it leaves some questions unanswered eg;

What guarantee is there that the new trans national, Clipper, won't behave as caprisciously as Vestas did?

Why not nationalise and secure the future of the industries needed to create a green infrastructure in the UK?

Will there be any jobs in the NE for redundant Vestas workers (the region has its own unemloyment problems) ?

Will there be proper compensation for redundant Vestas workers?

Will their skills and knowledge now go to waste, whilst Vestas is allowed to mothball the IOW factory until it finds another opportunity to milk the British taxpayer?

Why not have two (or more) turbine plants? (Nobody seems to suggest that there is anything wrong with the IOW site, in fact with access to sea transport, it may be a relatively ecologically sound location) and minimising transport distances should be considered when building the green infrastructure.

Ed Miliband announces boost for green jobs Energy and climate change secretary announces funding for a new factory that will make the largest offshore windblades in the world
· Hélène Mulholland and agencies
· The Guardian, Thursday 17 September 2009 02.09 BST

The UK is consolidating its lead in offshore wind energy, according to Ed Miliband.

The energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, today announced a boost for green jobs including government funding for a new factory in the north-east, which will make the largest offshore wind blades in the world.

Miliband unveiled the £4.4m grant to Clipper Windpower to develop offshore wind turbines, with blades 70m long, 175m high, and weighing over 30 tonnes – "the size of a jumbo jet" – in a speech to the TUC in Liverpool.

"With strong government backing, the UK is consolidating its lead in offshore wind energy. We already have more offshore wind energy than any other country, we have the biggest wind farm in the world about to start construction, and now we'll see the biggest turbine blades in the world made here in Britain," Miliband said. "Our coastline means the offshore wind industry has the potential to employ tens of thousands of workers by 2020."

James Dehlsen, chairman of Clipper Windpower, said the government grant would accelerate planning and delivery of the project. The move was welcomed by Friends of the Earth as "exactly the sort of development the government should be supporting".
As part of the £120m investment the government has promised over the next two years, Artemis Intelligent Power will also be given £1m to transfer existing technology from automotive to wind energy. Siemens Wind Power will receive £1.1m in developing power converters for their larger offshore turbine.

Clipper, a US company listed as the UK's only wind turbine maker, will start work at a new plant near Blyth, Northumberland, next year to develop the blades for its giant turbines. It is expected to employ 60 people by the end of 2010. Ministers are keen to redeem themselves after the closure of Vesta, the wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight, which led to the loss of more than 600 jobs in August.

Miliband told the TUC conference it was a tragedy that workers at Vesta had lost their jobs, prompting a standing ovation from delegates for a number of former Vesta workers present.

"We spent months working with the company," Miliband said. "They told us money wasn't a problem. They said their problem was that they didn't have enough orders for onshore wind turbines, because some councils wouldn't let wind turbines go up." He accused Tory councils of blocking planning applications for turbines.

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