Last week was the first time this year that we were not interrupted by the weather and we managed to get a lot of service and planned maintenance work completed. The guys could finally get their heads down and clear up a lot of the work which has been stacking up due to the horrendous wind and rain (and snow) we have been experiencing for the past 6 odd weeks.
Running a small business often feels a bit like a rollercoaster ride and last week was no different. Within the space of 3 days we were sky high – celebrating some fantastically good news – before being brought back down to earth with a bump with the kind of news you never want to hear.
The good news is we secured our first base with a new client who is looking for a single, national contractor, to deliver over 100 sub 50kW foundations a year. They want to offer a consistent groundworks service (price and quality) to their customers regardless of location and in doing so reduce the hassle that managing multiple contractors brings. This is right up our street and is what WindCare was created to provide. We start the first base on Thursday and I will let you know how we get on.
The bad (and sad) news is that one of our customer’s (and a major player in the market) has decided to step out of the UK wind sector. I don’t know for certain but I assume the decision was made for a number of reasons which could have included the Feed in Tariff being hammered at the end of last November and the time it takes to get even small wind projects through the planning system. Whatever the real reasons behind the decision, it is bad news for the whole industry – this company was not fly-by-night – it was an extremely professional outfit which had invested heavily into the sector and had some really talented people working for it. I commend the management in implementing a controlled exit from the market whereby all suppliers will be paid in full rather than just getting out asap regardless of consequence. Whilst of course short-term it isn’t good news for us, commercially it will be business as usual. In the absence of the company, we will continue to support all turbine owners directly and anyone with questions can call me to discuss further (07825 994004).
The irony of this is the Feed in Tariff is supposed to be a mechanism to promote confidence and attract investment into the renewable energy sector with the eventual aim that renewables will complete like-for-like with traditional fossil fuel energy generation. Slashing the incentive by 40% in one hit (as was done last November) was bound to cause a rebound effect with a huge vacuum of nothingness in the sub 50kW market as anyone with ‘shovel ready’ projects got them in before the deadline and now people looking to migrate towards bigger turbines due to the madness of the new tariff structure. The Government needs to look at this urgently if the small wind sector is to prosper long-term and I hate to say it but I called this back in October.
It is more of the same for the first part of this week with servicing and planned maintenance jobs in Durham, Hertfordshire, Huddersfield and Leeds booked. We have a DNO G59/2 witness test tomorrow and also a bench-tested G59 panel to build and dispatch. Towards the end of the week we have two large maintenance jobs which will take us to Friday night. On Thursday we are doing the sub 50kW base near Manchester so it will be all hands to the deck in the workshop getting all the rebar cages built and assembling the foundation kit before shipping everything out to site. I priced a lot of work last week for new and existing customers so I am hoping to get feedback (and orders!) in the week ahead.
Enjoy your week.