End of turbines hope

BiFab blow as ‘no legal route’ for ministers to back yards

Battle for BiFab

Workers have campaigned to save jobs (pic: Terry Murden)

BiFab’s hopes of securing work on giant wind turbines have been delivered a final blow by the UK and Scottish governments who said they have “no legal route to provide further financial support” to the Fife yard.

A contract for eight of the 54 jackets required for the £2 billion Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) wind farm collapsed last month after the Scottish government withdrew a £30m guarantee because of state aid rules.

A joint working group now being formed to consider future opportunities for the renewables supply chain in Scotland.

As Daily Business revealed on Tuesday morning, the UK government had already set this in motion ahead of issuing a joint statement with Scottish ministers on Tuesday evening.

In a statement, ministers in both governments said they have concluded that, in the absence of a shareholder guarantee provided by BiFab’s majority shareholder, JV Driver, “there is no legal route for either the Scottish or UK Governments to provide BiFab with the guarantees it would need to secure its contract with Saipem [Italy-based lead foundations contractor for NnG].”

They said the UK and Scottish Governments are committed to investment in renewables and clean energy. The development of a domestic renewables supply chain is a “key priority for both governments.”

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It added: “The UK and Scottish Governments are therefore convening a Joint Working Group to explore how existing policy measures can be used to strengthen the renewables and clean energy supply chain in Scotland, and look at options for the future of the sites where BiFab currently operates and other opportunities around Scotland, in a manner consistent with respective devolved and reserved competencies.”

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government has been working for more than three years to support BiFab.

“We have left no stone unturned in our search for a solution to the challenges faced by the business. As a minority shareholder, we have been exhaustive in our consideration of the options available to us to financially support BiFab from public funds.

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