Hundreds of workers from the troubled BiFab engineering firm have marched to Holyrood, calling on the Scottish government to safeguard their future. BiFab, which employs 1,400 at yards in Fife and Lewis, has warned it is in danger of going into administration. The company provides equipment to the oil and renewable energy industries. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has returned from a climate change summit in Bonn, and has said she is available for talks on the firm’s future. Her deputy, John Swinney, had earlier told Holyrood that Ms Sturgeon was “returning early” from her trip in order to “be available this afternoon to convene face-to-face discussions at St Andrew’s House if those are required.”
BBC 16th Nov 2017 read more »
Times 17th Nov 2017 read more »
Alan Duncan, director of offshore wind consultancy Scotia Supply Chain and spokesman for NnG (Neart na Gaoithe) Offshore Wind Farm Coalition, discusses the challenges facing Scottish companies seeking growth within the burgeoning offshore wind sector. The wave of positivity surrounding offshore wind including the welcome news that the Supreme Court has refused the appeal of the RSPB campaign against NNG was short lived with the news from BiFab this week. Whilst it is clear that the current situation at BiFab is a project-specific issue, it does bring into sharp focus the challenges that Scottish companies face within the sector. Figures announced by the UK Government recently show that UK content within offshore wind is running at around 50%. This figure masks the disparity across the supply chain: local content for OPEX supply – ongoing wind farm servicing and maintenance – can be as high as 90% offering Scottish companies a confirmed 25 year revenue stream. However, local content for CAPEX supply can be as low as 20%. Scottish companies such as BiFab face stiff competition even for projects in our own backyard – this is all good and well as long as Scottish manufacturers are playing on a level playing field. The first problem for Scottish manufacturers is the fact that the offshore wind supply chain is a pan-European business and manufacturers in Europe have essentially had a 15 to 20 year head start. Competition is healthy in a sector seeking rapid cost reduction but we must ask ourselves if it is fair that Scottish manufacturers are competing against European companies that are part or fully state funded.
Energy Voice 17th Nov 2017 read more »