Farmscale wind turbine “world leader” Endurance has gone bust, raising questions over the long-term maintenance of its machines, no less than 900 of which are now standing on UK farms and estates.
The Canadian company did indeed have a global presence, but its success was very much based on its dominant presence on the UK farm turbine market – and the newly-elected Conservative government’s 2015 assault on renewable energy incentives hit it squarely in the pocket.
Endurance chief executive Brad Bardua added that the sharp decline in the British pound in the wake of this year’s vote to leave the European Union had compounded the group’s financial woes.
“It was a variety of issues, one on top of another,” said Mr Bardua. “The Canadian company has gone into bankruptcy … and is working through what’s going to happen with the other operations. They don’t have a long-term supporter.”
The bankruptcy has prompted the UK’s five key Endurance Authorised Service Providers, all independently-owned businesses based in the UK, to issue a joint statement pledging to work together to offer continuity to all the firm’s UK customers by ensuring that stocks of spares and parts will remain available.
The failure of the manufacturer has left many UK customers without warranties on their turbines, and the five service firms said that they were also working with insurance providers towards offering reputable insurance cover as soon as possible.
Between them, Aeolus, based in Bristol; Earthmill in Wetherby; Natural Generation in St Ives; Scaled Energy in Scotland and Silverford in Northern Ireland, believe they can provide a comprehensive service and maintenance coverage for the UK without the Canadian company behind them.
“In the past, where manufacturers didn’t have the scale or reliability of the Endurance turbines, this type of arrangement wasn’t possible,” said Mark Woodward, finance director of Wetherby-based Earthmill, one of the country’s largest Endurance specialists.
“But with a highly professionalised maintenance and repair infrastructure already in place, and a total of 900 Endurance turbines in operation around the UK, the formation of a new service provider to keep the turbines operational is a viable proposition.”
Earthmill maintains over 250 Endurance turbines for customers across the UK – and the company itself is among the many creditors of the Endurance Wind Power UK business in the wake of the parent company’s demise.
“We were shocked by the failure of one the world’s largest and most successful manufacturers, as were all the other Endurance Authorised Service Providers, not least because we own a number of turbines ourselves, and need them to remain operational and generating power,” said Mr Woodward.
“Our main priority now though is to provide a solution for the turbine owners. We are investing alongside our colleagues in the other ASPs to centralise a stock of replacement parts and spares that would otherwise be too expensive for us each to sustain individually. Between us we have a team of engineers who cover the whole of mainland UK. We already provide 24-hour monitoring to customers ensuring their turbines are operational and producing power to the grid for as many hours as possible,” he added.
The ASP agreement is likely to result in the formation of a dedicated new company which will see the provision of a central service depot with a stock of Endurance spares. This will ensure turbines are not left without critical parts that were previously the responsibility of the manufacturer.
“The industry has stepped up, and between us we will ensure the customers are supported going forward, albeit by warranties that will have to be sourced elsewhere, and we are very close to launching an insurance-backed solution. In the meantime we are doing what we can to provide a solution to an unwelcome problem that nobody outside Endurance could possibly have seen coming,” he concluded.
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