250 jobs created by Galway firm’s expansion into wind energy

14 May 2009

A Galway-based industrial equipment company has today announced it is to expand into wind energy, creating 250 jobs in the manufacture of wind turbines in Athenry.

C&F will be the first company in Ireland to fully design and build wind turbines in Ireland.

The company is currently in the middle of a four-year €20m investment programme, and the move into wind energy will mean the expansion of its 180,000-sq-foot Athenry manufacturing headquarters by an additional 70,000 sq feet.

The 250 jobs created will be in the areas of design, engineering, manufacturing and management, sales and after-sales, and will be generated over the next two years.

There will also be spin-off benefits for installers and electricians, and C&F has commenced the process of appointing distributors in Ireland, the UK and Europe, all of whom are currently working in wind energy.

The C&F turbines will use a revolutionary new technology patented by the company that allows it to harness wind at lower speeds than has been possible previously.

The technology means the turbines can generate power from wind at speeds as low as 1.2 of a metre a second. As a result, the C&F turbines are typically capable of producing 40pc more power than existing competitors, and can generate power 350 days a year, outperforming current market offerings, the company said.

The new turbines will be marketed initially in a range of six sizes, from 6 kW to 50 kW. The company’s business plan is to ultimately build turbines up to 360kW competitively and efficiently.

“We are entering the renewable energy market with a range of superior micro-wind turbines that will revolutionise domestic and international industry”, said Ray Leavy, chief executive of C&F Wind division.

“Our alternators boast a much higher efficiency factor than anything currently available in the renewable energy market,” he added.

According to C&F owner and CEO John Flaherty, the aim is to make clean wind energy available to domestic, agricultural and small business users at affordable prices, both in Ireland and globally.

“This move into wind energy and to be an original equipment manufacturer has been part of our strategy for some time”, he said. “I believe this world-beating technology will give us a real competitive edge in a tough global marketplace.”

He anticipates that around 70pc of the turbines made in Galway will be exported, mainly to the European market.

The US market is expected to be supplied by from a new facility that C&F plans to build there next year, adding to its existing infrastructure in China, The Philippines and Czech Republic.

The C&F announcement is timely, coming just months after the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resource, Eamon Ryan TD, announced new Government measures to encourage the onsite generation of electricity in homes and on farms across Ireland.

The new C&F turbines will be on display later this month when the Volvo Ocean Race arrives in Galway, with two 10 kW models helping to power the onshore race village.

Flaherty (pictured) first set up C&F in 1989, spotting a gap in the Irish market for industrial equipment and tools, which was being serviced at the time largely by companies based in the UK and Germany.

He won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2008 and is due to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monte Carlo at the end of this month.

C&F’s growth since the start of the new millennium has been rapid, with turnover quadrupling between 2000 and 2007, and reaching €63.18m in 2008.

By Jennifer Yau

Pictured: John Flaherty, CEO, C&F, at the announcement of his company’s expansion into wind energy

Article courtesy of businessandleadership.com