Former BiFab site secures 290 jobs for work on the Nearth na Gaoithe Offshore Wind



The owners of a Firth of Forth offshore windfarm project have announced a new contract to create and load the generators for the project creating around 290 jobs at a former BiFab site.

Nearth na Gaoithe Offshore Wind (NnG) – owned by EDF Renewables and ESB – has signed a contract providing the work to Harland & Wolff, the trading name for the facilities – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saipem and InfraStrata.

Harland & Wolff will be manufacturing and fitting eight wind turbine generator jackets for Nearth na Gaoithe Offshore Wind. The works on the project will begin on 1 July.

The company said the contract will create around 290 direct and indirect Scottish jobs with additional support being provided, if needed, by the Arnish facility.

Saipem will install and supply an additional two jackets for the offshore substations. It will be providing the foundations of the offshore project to anchor the NnG’s wind turbine generators to the seabed.

This comes after the company bought two facilities it will be using from BiFab in February this year.

The company acquired the Methill and Arnish yards for £850,000. It paid £650,000 upon completion of the deal and would pay £200,000 when ‘substantial revenues’ were generated.

The Methil site will focus on fabrication for the oil and gas, commercial and renewables markets, while Arnish will take on defence, oil and gas, renewables, commercial and cruise and ferry work.

BiFab, which had steel fabrication yards in Fife and the Isle of Lewis, went under last year after failing to secure any new contracts to build offshore platforms for wind turbines.

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The company – part-owned by the Scottish government and a Canadian engineering firm – was put into administration at the end of last year.

The Scottish Government invested £37m into BiFab via equity and loans, and had offered a further £15m loan facility.

A Scottish parliament committee said it was “extremely concerned” about the Scottish Government’s lack of transparency and waste of public money over its handling of BiFab.

Matthias Haag, project director at NnG said: “This is an important day for the offshore wind sector in Scotland and for our project. When we announced our main contractors in 2019, we made clear our commitment to the Scottish supply chain and the role it has to play in the construction of NnG.

“That’s why this contract signing is such good news. We are pleased the contract has been awarded to Harland & Wolff with the bulk of the work taking place in Scotland.”

John Wood, chief executive at InfraStrata, commented: “It validates our strategic vision of expanding the group’s fabrication footprint into regions that are strategically located within close proximity to major wind farm projects.

“This will enable us to spread work streams across our facilities to drive down costs, deliver against tight schedules and, crucially, align ourselves to the government’s goal of providing wind generated power to all homes in the UK by 2030.

It is estimated the NnG offshore windfarm will supply enough low carbon electricity to power around 375,000 homes and has a capacity of 450 megawatts of lao carbon energy offsetting 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

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