Tata Steel and THMA forge new collaborative renewable alliance

Tata Steel has teamed up with one the UK’s leading marine engineering and energy organisations as they both target the UK’s growing offshore wind turbine market.

Joining Team Humber Marine Alliance, which represents more than 140 companies from around the Humber region, will allow Tata Steel to build on the significant investment it has put into new equipment and machinery at its Scunthorpe facilities.

As part of the global diversified Tata Group, Tata Steel wants to develop the market for its steel products and services in the renewable energy sector, said Phil Knowles, commercial manager power generation and renewables.

“We have made major developments in the Humber region in the past 12 months including the creation of a dedicated wind tower hub in Scunthorpe to process and distribute up to 200,000 tonnes each year of steel plate,” said Mr Knowles, who believes THMA’s unique collaborative approach can help the company’s ambitions.

“We recognise that for things to work there has to be more collaborative effort from everyone involved, a joint voice, and a shared, collective approach, that will spark opportunities.”

Becoming a THMA member allows Tata Steel to pressure government into greater support for business in the region as it becomes a major centre for the country’s renewable energy industries.

“There is a real need for government to think more strategically about the UK’s manufacturing supply chains. This means giving support and encouragement to fill the supply chain gaps that have arisen in recent decades and to strengthen those links in new industries like renewables, so that value can be captured properly in the UK,” added Mr Knowles.

Mark O’Reilly, director Team Humber Marine Alliance, said: “To meet the requirements of the North Sea’s Round 2 and Round 3 wind farms will demand companies with the expertise, skills and facilities of the very highest order.

“Tata Steel is one such company, which is why we’re delighted to have the chance to work more closely with them, not just on potential future renewable energy projects, but in other sectors in which our members operate, including commercial shipping and offshore oil and gas.

“Team Humber Marine Alliance has a wide array of member companies, from research and development to service, to operation and maintenance. Being able to work more closely with Tata Steel represents a fantastic opportunity that will benefit everyone involved.”

Tata Steel’s wind tower hub in Scunthorpe offers a range of product services including shot-blasting, priming, cutting of plate to size and edge profiling ready for welding.

The machines process profiled plate for tubular wind tower structures. The steel plates are manufactured either at the adjacent plate mill or at Tata Steel’s Dalzell plate mill in Motherwell.

The company’s large landholding also enables them to offer stock marshalling services so that plates can be delivered in accordance with customers’ tower or section build sequence. These services reduce the need for extensive stockholding in customers’ own fabrication yards.

“This means increased productivity within the supply chain and shorter lead times for the end client,” added Mr Knowles.

Tata Steel is also actively involved in the other forms of renewable energies including wave, tidal and solar power generation. Recently, the company provided high quality offshore grade steel plate for the Aquamarine Power’s wave energy device, the Oyster 800, to be deployed off Orkney.

The steel was manufactured at Tata Steel’s Scunthorpe steelworks before being rolled at Dalzell. Tata Steel worked closely with Burntisland Fabrications, which built the Oyster 800 at its Scottish facilities.