Two key players in the UK wood fuel industry have worked with two local investors to launch re:heat – a new company which is set to become an eminent force in the energy market in the North of England.
Directors Ben Tansey and Neil Harrison have over 20 years in the wood energy industry between them, and believe re:heat will help transform the way energy assets are managed.
Based in Alnwick, in Northumberland re:heat will offer training, consultancy and advice on all matters regarding the production of heat from biomass, as well as handling the design, installation and operation of the right wood-fuelled systems. Their aim is to help businesses and individuals who are looking at investing in a boiler to convert wood to sustainable heat, or who want to know how to get the most out of their woodland resource.
Ben has been working in the woodfuel sector for the last decade, and has worked at both ends of the industry, from wood fuel supply and sustainability, to the design of plants and processes. He has run a number of biomass sector development projects, plus regional programmes of sector support including the Northumberland Firewood Fair and the development of several accredited fuel suppliers.
Neil has just as much experience, with a background in rural development, forestry and biomass boiler design and installation, he has spent the last few years working in an advisory capacity. He has worked for clients such as Scottish Government, Heineken, The Carbon Trust, Forestry Commission England, and a large number of farms, estates and other businesses, as well as finding time to speak on wood energy at conferences worldwide. Neil has an eye for opportunity, and is renowned for realising the potential in projects and maximising opportunities for his clients. He tells us the aims of himself and his business partners in their new venture;
“We saw a real gap in the market in this corner of the country for the development of wood as a source of renewable energy, and a major benefit of growing the industry here is that we are keeping money in the North East economy through developing and working with local suppliers, not outsourcing every project. Through the re:heat team, we aim to offer impartial advice and are committed to focussing on the right technical solution for the client – not necessarily the option that provides the highest margin for us.
When correctly managed, wood can deliver a significant reduction in carbon emissions compared to the use of fossil fuels, as well as deliver considerable cost savings for those making the switch. These cost savings have received a huge boost with the recent increases in oil prices – wood has nothing like the volatility of fossil fuel markets – and with the introduction of the new Renewable Heat Incentive, which is easily the most generous renewable energy support scheme in the UK at present”.
Of late, renewable energy has spent considerable time in the spotlight, and although somewhat overshadowed by the controversy surrounding wind energy, the generation of heat from modern, highly-automated wood-fired boilers is a technology whose time has finally come. The wood fuel sector has huge potential as a source of energy, and at a European scale, actually provides more energy than any other form of renewable energy. re:heat are a company uniquely placed to help businesses and individuals maximise this potential.
The Investors and two other Directors in the business, David Orange and Keith Puddephatt, also bring their own considerable experience to the re:heat team – David from a 25 year career in running a specialist forestry and arboriculture machinery business, and Keith as a prominent underwriter in the City of London.
David was the founder of Orange Plant, which he grew from a small arboriculture business working in the North East, to the UK’s largest hirer of specialist machinery in the sector. The company also became supplier to most of the non-specialist machinery hire companies in the UK, and counted several hundred district and county councils and many major utility companies as customers. David sold the business in 2010, and identified the opportunity to invest in and work with re:heat at the end of 2011.
Keith had a career as a prominent underwriter in the City of London, and brings considerable business management experience to the company. Alongside his financial acumen, Keith’s time working as an underwriter for private clients and governments across the globe gave him an unrivalled understanding of risk – something which is at the forefront of most peoples’ minds when making investment decisions. Keith’s experience in this regard is proving particularly useful to the company and its clients.
When thinking about sustainability it is important to seek the very best advice, re:heat support clients with an impartial and professional approach, and are committed to using the wood fuel sector to your best advantage.
When heating your business, school or home think renewable and think wood fuel. It all starts with a sapling.