This was a bit of a strange week as on one hand the pressure of the 30th November Feed-in-Tariff review was off and on the other we still had plenty of work to do. That and the low pressure weather front which came in on Wednesday and brought with it freezing temperatures, wind, sleet and snow.
Our groundworks crews have been back down in Mid-Wales all week finishing off another 100kW foundation which was successfully poured yesterday. This was the 9th of these bespoke ‘design and build’ bases we have completed in the past 16 weeks for the same turbine distributor. Unless a last minute job drops (which to be fair is quite possible) this is the last foundation we will be doing before Christmas.
It was not so good news for our install team. We had a single turbine to build up and lift in Huddersfield and with so much to organise for a lift, we picked our day (yesterday) and went for it. Unfortunately the weather won and due to the wind speed exceeding 10m/s we had to call the lift off at the last minute on health and safety grounds. The only time in the next week where the weather looks anything like suitable for lifting is Saturday morning so the lads have kindly agreed to work through the weekend to get the turbine up and spinning.
The beginning of the week was allocated to annual servicing and warranty work which took us to places including Pocklington, York, Skipton, Halifax and Uttoxeter.
The fabrication of a 500kW anchor cage has taken centre stage in our workshop this week and is hopefully the first of many of these units to be made by us. Our engineering facilities and in-house expertise is growing in popularity with both new and existing clients. Working out of a 10m high 12,000 square foot fully tooled fabrication workshop means we are well placed to offer an extended range of services to our customers. In addition to our site based teams of engineers, we also have in-house coded welders (MIG, TIG and Arc), fabricators, CNC plasma cutting equipment, paint shop, facilities for folding, rolling and machining steel as well as various sizes of overhead cranes. Running a couple of HGVs, squares the circle and provides the vital link between the workshop and our customer’s sites.
Next week is looking a lot quieter than we are used to and sees us servicing turbines in Yorkshire and Humberside as well as any maintenance call-outs which could come in at any time. We have a couple of G59 witness tests to do and also a 100kW bespoke bench-tested G59 panel to build, bench-test and despatch up to Scotland.
December and January are looking like really difficult months for everyone involved in the small/medium scale wind market. There seems to be a bit of a vacuum of new projects in the pipeline and I think it is going to take a while for things to get moving again in the system. This was bound to happen when the Government announced a deadline which saw a decreasing in the FiT of up to 40% overnight – anyone with a project which was ‘shovel ready’ would be pushing for a pre-30th Nov install date. We are confident in both the long-term prospects of the sector and our business model and it is just a case of holding on and seeing this difficult patch through.
Have a good weekend