Mabey Bridge secures REpower wind-turbine tower order

Mabey Bridge has secured an order with REpower to manufacture and supply 53 wind-turbine towers for wind farms across Cumbria, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and France.

The Chepstow-based company has now won more than 150 orders for towers since it opened its new £38m facility in May 2011.

Production of the up to 80m-long, 138-tonne tubular steel structures began in April and the final tower is set for completion by late December 2012.

Alex Smale, Mabey Bridge UK director, explained to The Engineer that a number of factors have helped shaped the company’s success in the onshore and offshore wind market.

From April 2013 the value of ROCs (renewables obligation certificates) will drop by 10 per cent to 0.9ROCs/MWh for onshore wind.

‘I think the announcement in October 2011… spurred those that can into getting their developments underway, so that they get that extra five per cent return on their investment for the life of the investment,’ he said.

Market conditions aside, Smale added that multinational utilities understand the ‘significant amount of political advantage’ in increasing the amount of UK content in their wind-farm projects.

‘I think they see that as a big advantage in order to get projects approved because there’s something in it for the UK, which for so long has been missing,’ he said.

Another significant driver for Mabey Bridge’s success has been its relationship with REpower.

The two companies signed a framework agreement in February 2010, before Mabey Bridge had purchased its 32,000m2 manufacturing facility.

‘That agreement, in order to be of any value, always relied on them winning business. They’ve been successful and on the back of that we have too,’ said Smale.

The company’s order book is now full for 2012 with Smale adding that there are roughly 110 towers still to be built.

Consequently, the Mabey Bridge site is working 24 hours a day to fulfil its orders.