Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project provides ground testing specialist Apex with “phenomenal” contract23rd Jan 2015

A Bridgend-based specialist in ground testing services has celebrated a significant contract to supply the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project.

Apex Testing Solutions has secured the equivalent of around 85 per cent of the company’s laboratory work for the year, to provide ground analysis and testing at the wind farm site.

Founded in 1992 and employing 65 people, Apex is one of a number of South Wales companies that have directly benefited from joint venture partners Jones Bros and Balfour Beatty’s work on behalf of wind farm operator Vattenfall.

The joint venture is undertaking balance of plant work at the wind farm, which includes the design and construction of the wind farm’s turbine foundations, and the improvement and construction of 80km of site access tracks.

As part of its contract, Apex has drilled water wells for the project’s on-site welfare facilities, and is carrying out extensive testing to ensure the stability and strength of the newly constructed turbine bases.

Apex general manager Thomas Martin said: “It’s a phenomenal contract for us, in particular for the testing lab, as it equates to about 85 per cent of the department’s work for the whole year.

“Our engineers are currently sharing up to 19 hours worth of work a day between them on concrete pour days, two or three times a week, which is a huge amount of our resources.

“The project has not just been great news for Apex, it’s also had a positive effect for our suppliers within South Wales. With this size of project both material and consumable supply to Apex has increased, which in turn supports business within South Wales even beyond the initial supply chain.”

To date, 13 suppliers and 11 sub-contractors businesses in South Wales have been awarded contracts as part of the supply chain for the balance of plant works. Contracts include a range of on-site services, including site supplies and aggregate, surfacing, security and traffic management.

Speaking on behalf of the joint venture, Kevin Adlington said: “We all recognise the importance of ensuring as many of the region’s businesses as possible benefit from the project.

“We’ve looked to hire suppliers that could dedicate a lot of time and attention to their aspect of the work, which is what’s required on a project of this size and scope.

“Apex in particular really fitted the bill in that respect – they’ve been fantastic to work with, and I’m pleased to hear that the contract has been so well received.”

“Our focus on finding the required skills and expertise locally has resulted in some very high quality work and a fantastic level of diligence from throughout the supply chain.”

Alistair Hinton, construction manager for Vattenfall said: “Ensuring South Wales businesses have the opportunities and benefits from the wind farm’s supply chain is just one aspect of how the project is benefiting the region’s economy.

“An apprenticeship scheme is currently under way, ensuring the project leaves a skills legacy in the region, while two thirds of all plant operatives working on site will be sourced from within 30 miles of the Pen y Cymoedd site. We could not have done this without cooperation from Jones Bros and Balfour Beatty.”

The Pen y Cymoedd Community Fund will provide funding worth £1.8m a year to neighbouring communities over the duration of the project, which is expected to be worth up to £1 billion to the Welsh economy over its 25-year life span.

Once operational, the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project will be the largest onshore wind farm in England and Wales, generating enough electricity to power around 140,000 homes.