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Wind power firm collapses putting 45 jobs at risk

A wind power firm based near Kidderminster – once hailed as ‘a great example of green growth’ by a Government minister – has collapsed into administration.

The future of 45 workers, half of them based at Hartlebury, is now in the balance.

Administrators from Grant Thornton have been appointed for both Endurance Wind Power (UK) and Endurance Manufacturing (UK), which made wind turbines for farmers.

It follows the bankruptcy of their parent company in Canada. Bosses have blamed the UK government’s decision to stop subsidies to small-scale wind turbines in Britain, the Vancouver company’s biggest market, and the sharp drop in the value of the pound.

The two UK companies install and maintain wind turbines at sites across the country and employ a total of 45 staff. Around half are based in the West Midlands, with eight people employed at Endurance Manufacturing in Hartlebury and another 14 at the neighbouring Endurance Wind Power site.

Eddie Williams, advisory partner in the Midlands, said: “The recent bankruptcy of the Canadian parent company has resulted in essential central services being withdrawn from the UK operations which has led to the director reluctantly taking steps to place the companies into administration.

Mr Williams added: “At this stage we are exploring all options. We are hoping to achieve going concern sales of the businesses and in doing so preserving jobs for the employees in Hartlebury and throughout the group.

“In the meantime, it is a priority for the wind turbines across the UK to remain operable and we are working with the employees and the Canadian receiver to ensure this happens.”

The company’s collapse is a bitter end to a dream that started with high hopes.

Just two years ago Greg Barker, then Energy and Climate Change Minister, toured the factory at Hartlebury, which was then expected to create 100 jobs and become and international export hub.

Endurance planned to eventually be making 100 farm-scale turbines each year.

It had already installed 500 at that point and the small-scale wind power industry was riding high.

Minister Greg Barker – now Lord Barker of Battle – said during his visit in 2014: “Endurance’s new turbine manufacturing base in Hartlebury is a great example of green growth here in the UK.

“Not only will this new facility create around 100 jobs and boost the West Midlands economy.

“It will unleash new opportunities to export British-made technologies to Europe and beyond.

“This innovative kit will also help people take energy generation into their own hands.”

And Glenn Johnson, chief executive officer of Endurance, said: “By investing in this manufacturing facility, we have shown our long-term commitment to the UK and particularly to the rural economy which has been going through tough times in recent years.

“With continued stable Government backing, we can empower more and more farmers to become more resilient and resource efficient, insulating their businesses from the risk of energy price shocks.”

But the withdrawal of Government backing appears to have doomed the business, at least in its present form.

It followed a Conservative 2015 election manifesto pledge to halt the spread of onshore wind farms and to end “any new public subsidy” for them.