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Liberty enters steel wind tower market with key investment
The Liberty House Group ‘GREENSTEEL’ strategy to build a fully-integrated steel and engineering business across the UK has taken another step forward with the purchase of plant to make wind towers, T-pylons and other large scale tubular steel fabrication.
The equipment will form the heart of a major new manufacturing centre which will eventually supply the growing off-shore wind market and turbine casings for Tidal Lagoon power, in which Liberty’s sister company, SIMEC, is a major investor.
Initially the company will recruit a workforce of over 100 for the new enterprise, including engineers, welders, fabricators, assemblers, blasters and painters. This number is expected to grow significantly as the business develops.
Plans for this centre also represent an early boost for Liberty’s newly-acquired steel plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge in Scotland which will make the heavy-duty steel plate required for the towers. The mothballed Scottish plate mills began recruitment last week with a view to re-starting production in September.
Liberty, part of the GFG Alliance, bought the steel tower production plant which was closed down in September 2015 by Mabey Bridge Renewables at Chepstow, South Wales. The company will announce the location of its new manufacturing centre within the next few weeks.
The state-of-the-art equipment makes towers up to 56 metres tall x 5 metres diameter for on-shore wind installations, and Liberty has plans to upgrade the facility to make 110m x 10m towers for the growing off-shore market.
The plant will also make towers and cross-sections for the National Grid’s newly-introduced 35m tall T-Pylons, which are expected to become a common feature across the British landscape in the years ahead.
The Group’s executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta said: “We are very excited about this new opportunity. It is an excellent example of how we are integrating our steel production and manufacturing supply chain to create a robust industrial eco-system. It is particularly appropriate that this new business will supply the renewable energy market in view of our own GREENSTEEL strategy, which involves investing in green energy as the basis of a competitive UK steel and engineering industry.
“Our aim is to create a world-class centre for the production of tubular towers and other large scale steel fabrication. Most of these products are currently imported, so there is great potential to substitute this with our own production of best-in-class and competitive British towers, building sustained value and creating skilled jobs in a growth sector,” he added.
Mr Gupta said there was still a significant and rapidly growing market for wind towers especially off-shore towers in the UK and a rapidly-emerging market for T-Pylons.
He said the new enterprise would have added competitive strength by accessing steel from the group’s plate mills in the UK and the plate mills would gain a valuable long-term client for a high-end product. It would also have a versatile product range including Wind Towers, large Piles, T-Pylons and Tidal Lagoon Casing.
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