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10:00, 30th December 2016

Two new directors at Sweco as firm eyes growth plans

ukDEA member Sweco has appointed two new members to its UK leadership team to head up its environment and energy business units as the company prepares for further growth.

The Leeds-headquartered engineering, environment and design consultancy has appointed Jen Hamilton to lead its environment unit, whilst Andy King will take of the energy unit. Both are directors and have been with the consultancy for 10 and five years respectively.

Sweco now has five distinct business units comprising buildings, environment, energy, transportation and water and asset management, and these latest appointments ensure each unit is represented at board level.

The promotions also mark a period of successful integration since Sweco launched in the UK in April 2016, following its acquisition of Grontmij in October 2015. Among the work it has been involved in includes the delivery of a district heating network connecting 53 buildings within the University of Glasgow estate to a new energy centre.

Together, the consultancy’s energy and environment teams are part of a consortium implementing Nemo Link, an electrical interconnector between the UK and Belgium. They are also providing design and environmental planning consultancy services for several energy schemes and have a market-leading position in on-shore wind. Sweco’s UK managing director, Max Joy, said:

“Our integration continues to progress at an excellent rate and we are very well placed to become even more successful.

“These additional leadership team appointments ensure our core businesses are aligned with market sectors in a way that creates many advantages for both our company and our clients. Importantly, the structure also enables pan-business representation on the leadership team giving further impetus to our collaborative multi-disciplinary approach.

“We’re very pleased to introduce Jen and Andy onto the leadership team. They are both highly capable individuals and great leaders, who have proven themselves to be assets to our business. We look forward to them helping deliver our controlled strategic growth plan.”

The consultancy employs 800 people in the UK and advises on major projects. Sweco has its headquarters in the Chapel Allerton area of Leeds and consults nationwide via its network of offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Maidenhead, Manchester, Newcastle, Peterborough and Solihull.

Read more at the Yorkshire Post

10:00, 29th December 2016

New public sector energy company announced for Devon

A pioneering new energy company, designed to deliver more efficient heat and power in Devon, has been announced

The innovative company, called Dextco, will develop ground-breaking sustainable projects to provide environmentally-friendly energy to homes and businesses across the city and its surrounding area.

The company - whose founder members and shareholders comprise of The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E), the University of Exeter, Devon County Council, Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council - is the first specifically Exeter-based energy company in almost 70 years.

Building on recent success of Cranbrook and Skypark's award winning district heating scheme, plans are already in place to undertake the first project associated with the new company in Exeter. A revolutionary new network will be financed and built, designed to transport heat generated at the RD&E's Wonford Hospital to consumers across the city. Feasibility studies for the project, which would increase energy efficiency and reduce costs, have identified that the scheme is achievable.

Read more at Newbusiness.co.uk

10:00, 28th December 2016

Denmark's largest power station replaces coal with wood pellets

​Avedøre Power Station can now use sustainable wood pellets as fuel instead of coal.

For the past 18 months, Avedøre Power Station has been converting its coal-fired power station unit, and the entire combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plant is now able to produce electricity and heat based on wood pellets and straw, rather than coal and gas.

"Following the conversion of unit 1 at Avedøre Power Station, we can produce heat for more than 215,000 Danish households in the Greater Copenhagen area without using coal or gas. The conversion is a major contribution to achieving a green district heating system in the Greater Copenhagen area as well as a green electricity system, supplementing solar and wind power," says Thomas Dalsgaard, executive vice president at DONG Energy.

The conversion—part of a heat agreement between the Danish energy companies 'Vestegnens Kraftvarmeselskab' (VEKS) and DONG Energy—aims to provide green district heating to VEKS' customers in the Greater Copenhagen area. The change from coal to sustainable wood pellets also contributes significantly to the city's climate targets. Avedøre Power Station expects to reduce its CO2 emissions by about 500,000 metric tons CO2 per year, equivalent to the annual emissions from 255,000 cars.

"Choosing the right levers to curb the ongoing CO2 emissions and thereby global warming is a complex task. However, using biomass at Avedøre Power Station's two units is a huge step towards achieving VEKS' goal of supplying fossil fuel-free district heating in 2025. We’ve made a difference," says Steen Christiansen, chairman of VEKS.

DONG Energy has reduced its coal consumption by 74 percent since 2006 by using more wind and biomass, and the trend is continuing. Studstrup Power Station, near Aarhus, made the transition from coal in October, and now it's Avedøre Power Station's turn.

"We’re reducing our annual coal consumption at Avedøre Power Station by around 160,000 metric tons. This is very good for the climate and in line with the conversion of our power stations, which has been ongoing for several years," Dalsgaard says.

Avedøre Power Station is expected to produce district heating based on biomass to approximately 215,000 Danish homes in Copenhagen as well as electricity corresponding to the annual consumption of more than 600,000 Danish households annually.

Originally published at Biomass Magazine

 

10:00, 27th December 2016

Netthings plans new market push after funding

ukDEA member Netthings, a provider of energy monitoring systems for homes, is eyeing a move into the commercial sector after successfully closing a £1.2 million funding round.

The Edinburgh-based firm will use the financing to sell monitoring and control systems into commercial properties that are too small for building energy management systems (BEMS).

Chief executive George McGhee said the company has built a prototype and is already in trials, with one retail company seeing a return on investment payback within four months.

“That £1.2m is to help us accelerate, get that through development and into the market,” he said.

“If you speak to Boots or Marks & Spencer, Tesco and so on, a building energy management system is too expensive. The energy consumed doesn’t justify spending £10,000, so what we’re doing is trying to bring some of the capability into a smaller system that is much easier to install, so if a BEMS system costs £5,000 to £10,000 we can get a core unit in there that can do the main monitoring and control for less than £3,000.”

The theory is that by monitoring usage, bills can quickly and permanently be cut by 10 to 20 per cent.

Mr McGhee said Netthings has had a good response from businesses and business groups it has discussed the solution with. “There are a lot of opportunities that we want to explore and the extra funding will help us to do that,” he said.

The company also plans to work with resellers for the first time as it looks to break into this market.

“The commercial sector has a higher average ticket value and we can get to the market faster with resellers – they will have their own set of customers,” he said.

David Ovens, chief operating officer at Archangels, said the company was poised for significant growth in the commercial market.

“The Archangels membership continue to be impressed with the progress of the business and this latest round of fundraising, alongside the Scottish Investment Bank, is evidence of our commitment to providing follow on funding to enable our invested businesses to grow.”

Currently, Netthings’ revenue is derived from the residential sector – including being fitted into new homes through contracts with housebuilders, and with district heating schemes, where a single source supplies energy to multiple buildings or flats.

Netthings has teamed up with German energy monitoring firm Ista on this, and Mr McGhee said this relationship could see the company break into international markets.

Its products are designed and manufactured in Edinburgh and have been installed in 14,000 properties in the UK.

Revenue is currently around £2m and Mr McGhee said the company would break into profitability as a result of this latest funding round.

Read more at Herald Scotland

10:00, 23rd December 2016

SSE pledges £6billion investment in Scotland

Power giant SSE has pledged to invest £6billion in Scotland over the next three years, with a “significant proportion” of the money earmarked for large-scale infrastructure projects.

The Perth-based company made the commitment as it submitted six proposals to the Scottish Government, which is currently drafting its energy strategy.

In its submission, SSE said it wanted to “build on the success” of onshore wind in Scotland through “repowering and extending existing sites.” It also wants to maximise opportunities in large-scale pumped storage hydro projects.

In a statement, SSE, which employs around 7,000 people in Scotland, said: “Having contributed more than £7 billion to the Scottish economy over the past five years, SSE plans to invest a further £6billion in the years to 2020.

“A significant proportion of its future investment programme is allocated to large-scale Scottish infrastructure projects including the Caithness – Moray Electricity Transmission line, onshore wind farm projects across Scotland and the 588MW Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth.

Read more at the Press and Journal