Scots firms win £17m contracts for massive offshore windfarm

Two Scottish firms have won contracts worth more than £17 million to carry out work on one of the world’s largest offshore windfarms.

Wood Group, the Aberdeen-based energy services giant, and Steel Engineering of Renfrew have picked up the deals to build, install and operate two weather monitoring stations for the East Anglia offshore wind zone, a joint venture between ScottishPower Renewables and Sweden’s Vattenfall.

The 7,200 megawatt facility, which is still in the early stages of development, has the potential to generate enough electricity to power five million homes.

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ScottishPower Renewables chief executive Keith Anderson said the weather stations would provide essential data for an area of sea larger than Norfolk.

He added: “The award of these contracts to UK companies clearly demonstrates why the development of the offshore sector offers one of the most significant opportunities for the post-recessionary UK economy. It will support a new supply chain that will attract billions of pounds of investment and create highly skilled employment in the engineering and construction sectors.”

Some 1,000 tonnes of steel will be needed to create the structures, and work at Steel Engineering’s plant in Renfrew is expected to begin in November before installation takes place in the summer of 2013. Construction of the first phase of the windfarm is due to start in 2015, with the final stages expected to be built in 2020.

Steve Wayman, chief executive of Wood Group’s Kenny subsidiary, said: “We see the development of renewable energy as a strategic business opportunity which will allow us to capitalise on our 30 years of offshore oil and gas experience.”

l Rolls-Royce has agreed to sell its Tidal Generation subsidiary, which operates a tidal power test facility off the Orkney Islands, to French industrial group Alstom. It did not disclose a price, but said the company had gross assets of £10.6m as of 31 December.

The deal is expected to be completed within the next few months, Rolls-Royce said.