Mabey Bridge’s £38m manufacturing facility in Chepstow saw the first wind turbine towers leave the factory today, in the presence of Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of the Welsh Government.
Last year, the company secured a preferred supplier agreement with Repower, one of the UK’s biggest suppliers of wind turbines, for which it has produced nine steel tubular towers. Each completed tower is made up of three sections and weighs 150 tonnes.
Twelve sections of tower will be transported on low-loader lorries today to the Marr wind farm in South Yorkshire, which is being developed and operated by Banks Renewables, part of the County Durham-based Banks Group.
Mabey Bridge announced last week it has secured another major contract to supply wind turbine towers to the Dutch wind turbine company EWT. The five-year framework agreement will see the firm producing steel tubular towers measuring from 40 to 75 metres in height.
Alex Smale, Mabey Bridge UK director, said: “It was always an ambitious move of the company to invest £38m of its own money in transferring 162 years of bridge-building expertise into a related industry but it is certainly paying off. We are experiencing high demand for our towers and look forward to making further announcements soon.”
During the visit, the First Minister said: “This impressive facility is a massive show of confidence in Wales as a base for major manufacturing. This is a significant day for the Welsh renewables sector and the product being made here is world-class. These are highly skilled green jobs that will make a huge contribution to our economy.”
Banks Renewables, part of The Banks Group, is investing around £10m in the Marr wind farm near Doncaster, and has been undertaking preparatory work on the site for the last six months.
The scheme will have an installed capacity of more than 8MW, and will be able to generate enough power to meet the energy requirements of up to 4,700 homes.
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “Banks is making a significant investment in creating the Marr wind farm, one that will not only go a long way towards meeting the area’s renewable energy generation targets, but which will also provide a positive long-term legacy for the area through the community benefits fund that will run alongside it.
“Utilising the latest technologies is a central part of making the Marr scheme as efficient and productive as possible, and the arrival of the turbine towers on site represents a very significant landmark for us.”