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Work Begins on UK’s First Offshore Wind Tower Facility

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NDT trainees Credit Raymond Hosie

A ceremony attended by Scotland’s Energy Minister marks the commencement of work in Argyll on the UK’s first offshore wind tower factory.

CS Wind UK’s base in Campbeltown, which employs 175 people, is set for a £27 million investment after its acquisition by South Korean manufacturer CS Wind Corporation in April (2016).

It is expected that the investment will create 160 new jobs at the factory.

Scottish Government Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP will join CS Wind Corporation Chairman Seong-Gon Gim and Charles Hay, UK Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, at a ground breaking ceremony on 7th July 2016.

CS Wind has factories in China, Vietnam and Canada, and has already manufactured more than 6,000 towers worldwide. The investment will increase production volume at the existing onshore wind tower factory and allow for the fabrication of larger diameter towers for the offshore wind sector.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said:

“The £27 million investment undertaken by CS Wind UK, which will increase production capacity at the Campbeltown plant, highlights the importance of both the onshore and offshore wind sectors to the Scottish economy.

“I warmly welcome this important collaboration, which will help to deliver on our aim for Scottish engineering and the wider renewables supply chain to capture a far greater share of the economic value arising from the construction phase of wind energy projects.

“on 6th July 2016, Vattenfall announced the signing of an MoU with CS Wind UK and Vattenfall, working together on a number of onshore and offshore wind projects in the future. Today’s further announcement that CS Wind will be signing a MoU with Siemens to produce up to 200 offshore towers between 2017 and 2019 is also very welcome news, and is a further endorsement of CS Wind’s investment in the Machrihanish facility, which will secure local jobs within the community in Kintyre.

“The announcement also reinforces our view that offshore wind energy represents not only a vital energy resource, and Scotland is a highly competitive location for projects, but also that the supply chain for the technology presents a huge economic opportunity for both Scotland and the UK.”

UK Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “We are building a strong, competitive UK supply chain to support our world leading offshore wind industry. Businesses now have greater certainty than ever before thanks to government’s £730m of support for renewables.

“CS Wind is a great example of how this newfound certainty can drive local jobs and growth through the UK supply chain.”

Mr Young-Jae Ryu , Managing Director, CS Wind UK, said: “This event and the signing of these agreements marks the start of significant investment in the factory, which will ensure high-quality, cost competitive towers for both on and offshore wind projects being built in the UK.

“CS Wind UK’s investment is a strong signal that UK manufacturers and suppliers have an important part to play in the development of offshore windfarm projects, securing jobs and a long-term future for the local economies.”

Douglas Cowan, director of strengthening communities at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said:

We are delighted to welcome CS Wind UK to Machrihanish, which is now firmly on the UK renewables map.

“We very much welcome the plans for such major investment in this rural location and relish the prospect of continuing to work with the company, and exploring opportunities to support its growth plans.”

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “The growth of offshore wind is a huge economic opportunity for businesses across the UK and it is great to see CS Wind gearing up to bid for contracts on future developments.

“The factory is a major employer in Argyll and Bute, and an important part of Scotland’s renewable energy sector. This announcement comes hot on the heels of contract wins for businesses in Wick, Nigg and Fife, all of which reinforces the economic and social benefits of investment in renewable energy.”

On the eve of the ground breaking ceremony, CS Wind UK and Vattenfall, the Swedish state-owned wind farm developer, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding committing both companies to co-operation over potential future contract and supply opportunities for Vattenfall’s UK development pipeline.

Wind tower manufacturing giant Siemens will also give the new facility vote of confidence by signing an agreement at the event that will see CS Wind awarded preferred supplier status for multiple Siemens offshore tower projects.

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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