A HAMILTON-BASED company has called for a level playing field for Scottish firms tendering for renewable energy projects in Scotland.

The Scottish Government took a £25 million equity stake in troubled Fife fabrication firm BiFab as part of a rescue deal.

However, last month the company was effectively “locked out” of the bidding process for a £200m offshore wind farm in Moray after finding itself unable to compete with foreign state-supported competitors from Spain, the United Arab Emirates and Belgium.

ILI Group CEO Mark Wilson, speaking on the eve of the All-Energy Conference at the SEC Glasgow, said Scots firms were losing out.

He said: “We have been in the renewable industry for the last 10 years and have seen time and time again, Scottish firms missing out on the construction investment.

“Scotland is uniquely placed to benefit from renewable energy, but Scottish firms have mostly missed out on the potential.

“We are taking forward three pumped storage hydro (PSH) sites in Scotland with total build cost of over £2 billion, creating thousands of jobs, we are determined to do everything in our power to make sure Scottish firms are in the best position possible to benefit from this investment.”

Wilson yesterday outlined the case for PSH to delegates at the Glasgow conference.

PSH allows the National Grid to store energy that cannot be absorbed naturally by consumers during times of peak wind or solar generation.

It does this by using this energy to pump water from a lower reservoir to a top reservoir, where it can be held until times of higher demand, when it is released to the lower reservoir through turbines generating electricity in the same manner as a conventional hydro plant.

The process can then be repeated as required.

Brian Wilson, a former UK energy minister, said: “We were promised a second industrial revolution through renewable energy and none of that has happened because developers have been allowed to import virtually all of the hardware instead of investing in Scotland.

“Current pumped storage hydro proposals are on a scale which offer a real second chance for the Scottish manufacturing industry.

“Now is the time to identify where the capacity exists and to ensure that the progress of these projects through the consenting process is matched by assurances of using a domestic supply chain.”

ILI Group has more than 2GW of PSH in the pipeline with their first 450MW development Red John in Inverness currently in planning.

A further two projects will be submitted for planning permission in the coming months.

The All-Energy Conference, which opened yesterday, is the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference.

More than 500 speakers will give presentations, along with 250 exhibiting companies. The total attendance at the event is expected to stand at around 7000.