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SFIL is first English company on Welsh tidal board

19 May 2014

Sheffield Forgemasters has become the first manufacturer outside Wales to join a best-in-class consortium on the Wales Tidal Industry Advisory Board.

The heavy engineering specialist accepted the invitation from the board which is working to maximise the potential of a new tidal lagoon industry in Wales.

The board, which was established earlier this year and is made up of senior business owners and directors in Wales, has opened its ranks to include representatives from skilled suppliers across the UK who can make critical components to support the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project.

Gareth Barker, managing director of Sheffield Forgemasters' forgings division, will take a seat on the board.

Forgemasters, the first non Welsh board member, has an unparalleled  history of manufacturing specialist cast and forged components for power generation including hydro electric, oil and gas, thermal and nuclear power plant projects across the globe.

Graham Honeyman, Chief Executive of Sheffield Forgemasters, said: "The UK has the facilities, and the companies, capable of some of the most technically advanced design and manufacture of engineered components in the world, and the Swansea Bay project can utilise those skills and services.

"Swansea Bay is one of the most exciting projects in British engineering and a positive step forward in the UK's need to broaden its power generating capacity. "

Group chair Roger Evans MBE said: “Working with Tidal Lagoon Power Limited, the development company behind the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, we want to see a minimum 50% of Welsh and 65% UK content for the first tidal lagoon. Our work to date proves that here is a world class cluster of manufacturing, assembly and construction businesses in Wales capable of creating a supply chain for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and a further five tidal lagoons across the United Kingdom.

“We are now reaching out to other suppliers throughout the UK to invite them to help us to ensure that we can meet the self-imposed 65% UK content benchmark and will be reviewing the Group on a regular basis to ensure that all interested parties are able to contribute to this exciting opportunity.”

Development Director for Tidal Lagoon Power, Ioan Jenkins added: “This working group represents a best-in-class consortium of UK and international industrial businesses to establish production facilities and supply chains to serve Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay and future developments. The response has been fantastic over the last few months with many leading industrial businesses asking to get involved to demonstrate the skills, experience and capacity that they have to deliver critical components including manufacturing stages related to turbine fabrication, assembly, machining, forging, casting and coating. Indeed, we are in discussion with DavyMarkham, Goodwin International, Cammell Laird and Harland Wolff.”

A report on the economic potential of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon was published by the Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff University in December 2013. It estimates that Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will generate a £300 million spend, 1850 jobs and £173 million GVA within the three year development phase.