NEW rules to crack down on cut-price competition from overseas must be brought in to stop Scottish yards losing offshore wind work, the owner of BiFab told MSPs. DF Barnes, a subsidiary of Canadian Firm JV Driver, acquired BiFab’s three yards – at Arnish on Lewis and Burntisland and Methil in Fife – last year in a Scottish Government-backed rescue package. The total workforce of 1400 now stands at just 115. Yesterday its director Bill Elkington called on ministers to address the “travesty” that sees domestic yards lose engineering contracts for offshore wind farms in Scotland to cheaper operators from overseas – despite commitments to support jobs here. Appearing before Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee, Elkington raised concerns about “competing against businesses that lose money”. That comment comes after key work on the Kincardine floating offshore wind development was won by Navantia, which is owned by the Spanish government and runs at a 35% revenue loss. Questioning how this conforms to state aid rules, he said Scottish taxpayers subsidise the UK Government’s Contract for Difference for offshore wind, which he said includes commitments to a proportion of work being carried out in Scotland – but there’s “nothing to hold [developers] to that”. Elkington said elsewhere companies are punished for breaching that type of commitment, with one developer in Canada fined the equivalent of £86.3 million. Nick Sharpe, of industry body Scottish Renewables, said historic under-investment in UK yards had enabled European rivals to provide round-the-clock fabricated steel manufacturing to a quality and cost that Scotland is currently “just not capable of, by and large”. He added: “The issues are fixable.”
The National 24th April 2019 read more »
Owners of troubled Scottish firm Burntisland Fabrication (BiFab) have claimed the company was effectively shut out of a £200 million wind turbine contract – despite being the lowest bidder for the project. During a Scottish Parliament roundtable committee meeting in Edinburgh yesterday, Canadian firm DF Barnes revealed it was thwarted in its bid to secure a 55-turbine contract for the Moray East Offshore Wind Farm when the procurement firm “changed” the bidding criteria. BiFab directors Bill Elkington and Sean Power told committee members the firm “just wanted to compete on a level playing field” after losing out to foreign state-backed firms. Unite Scotland secretary Pat Rafferty described BiFab’s situation as similar to “Hamilton Accies competing with Barcelona”. BiFab was rescued from the brink of administration by the Scottish Government in a £25m agreement before being purchased by DF Barnes last April, although hundreds of jobs were shed. Yesterday’s roundtable meeting was to examine fairness in the offshore wind supply chain before the joint Scottish and UK Government summit being held next week. The intervention comes after BiFab was overlooked in favour of two foreign rivals. Belgian company GeoSea was contracted by developer Moray East in 2017 to shortlist and appoint fabrication firms. In December 2018 it was announced Dubai-headquartered Lamprell had won a £160m deal to construct 45 jackets for the 100-turbine wind farm, which is being built under a partnership between Spanish-owned EDP Renewables and France’s Engie. A separate £217m deal for a further 55 jackets, was awarded to Belgian firm Smulders, who will operate the contract as a joint venture with GeoSea.
Energy Voice 24thy April 2019 read more »
LM Wind Power, the turbine maker owned by global engineering giant GE, has produced the largest blade ever made for a wind turbine, it revealed late last week. Measuring in at 107 metres in length, the supersized blade will be used to make the next generation of massive 12MW offshore wind turbines that are set to be manufactured by GE.
Business Green 24th April 2019 read more »