Celebratory special: Winners' reactions to 2018 renewables accolades

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 16 May 2018

From the world's leading offshore wind farm developer, to a micro-generation start-up, Humber Renewable Awards 2018 celebrated the diverse energy mix that makes this region a highlight of the green economy.

Today we look at the eight category winners, following Spencer Group's reaction to its crowning as Humber Renewables Champion yesterday. 

Best Renewable Project or Installation sponsored by Xceco

Winner: Race Bank (Orsted)

Race Bank offshore wind farm – the biggest yet off the Humber – took the Best Project accolade.

Orsted’s latest addition to the emerging East Coast Hub, anchored in Grimsby, the 570MW array was completed as the new year was welcomed in.

During construction it saw the town surpass the 1GW installed capacity milestone, and then some, as it became the sixth to be served from the port in a decade of delivery.

Truly pan-Humber, it was also the first to use Hull’s Siemens Gamesa blades, with the wider Green Port used for assembly staging.

Jason Ledden led the delivery from Port of Grimsby East, and was joined by operations colleagues who are now responsible for performance.

He said: “It is great to receive local recognition for this project. I feel humbled to accept it, a massive team put this project together, and it was delivered on time and on budget, and it is great to have something out there generating green energy for half a million homes.”

The 91-turbine array sits 20 miles off the Lincolnshire Coast, and is the Danish giant’s second regional farm after Westermost Rough.

Looking after Race Bank now from Orsted’s Royal Dock base is Mark Hickson, head of operations. He said: “This award is testament to the whole of the project team. They have delivered such a good asset to operations and maintenance, our job now is to take that baton and keep up that momentum. I’m really proud to be part of the project and we want to keep progressing.”

Mr Ledden has now moved to led on Hornsea Project Two, again from Grimsby, with construction to follow the first of the Round Three wind farms, now being installed.

The judges said: “This was a fantastic project, delivered ahead of schedule, bringing significant investment to the region and as a result generating a significant number of highly skilled jobs.

“It was particularly pleasing to see the first truly pan-Humber wind farm build, with Hull blades and Grimsby construction co-ordination, leading to long term operation from the port.”

Commended: Grimsby Shipyard Services

Runner up: ABP (Immingham solar)

Humber Renewables Small Business of the Year sponsored by Cobus

Winner: McAusland Turner Ltd

McAusland Turner Ltd was "absolutely delighted" with the award.
Judges were impressed with McAusland’s ability to transfer its core service offering and specialism into the ever-increasing Renewables sector, increasing its turnover within this sector by a staggering 400 per cent from 2017 to 2018.
McAusland’s tenacity within this growth industry has seen it forge close partnerships with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy in Hull and secure preferred supplier status with Vestas Wind Power along with many other leading companies and suppliers in the industry.
Managing director Albert Weatherill said: “The McAusland team are thrilled and immensely proud to have been awarded this accolade, as it is recognition of their hard work and steadfastness to achieve success in this exciting growth Industry.
“As most business owners will attest to, a company is only as good as its people and I am proud to say that after being a specialist for more than 130 years, McAusland continues to grow, with offices now across the UK, Europe and internationally.
He gave thanks to Cobus Communications for sponsoring the category and to all the other partner companies which made the awards possible.

Runners up: Hota, Petrotech

Excellence in Renewables Skills and Training sponsored by Arco

Winner: Modal Training (Grimsby Institute)

Bringing simulators to the high seas, a £7m investment saw Grimsby Institute’s Modal venture pick up the Excellence in Renewable Skills and Training accolade.

Principal Gill Alton collected the award, and told how the hi-tech haven of simulators for shipping, ports, logistics and haulage sectors was already welcoming international delegates as well as those from the Humber. 

Modal Training is located just off the port estate in Immingham’s Middleplatt Road, and the first phase opened in February last year. The latest element, road transport, will be unveiled later this month.

Mrs Alton said: “We have positioned ourselves to provide the solution to skills shortages in the area. It is a broad spectrum, we have everything from marine, through to cranage and truck driving. We have taken the labour market intelligence in to a vibrant training situation.

“It is more efficient, it is safer – some of the most dangerous scenarios are around ports and maritime – and we are in a position now where we have the UK centre for training people. We have already seen people fly in from Australia and Spain, it is getting a wider reputation.”

The judges said: “This £7m investment in state-of-the-art simulation facilities brought training and competency testing in maritime and logistics roles to a new level, while also making a hidden industry very appealing to a generation that has grown up with technology.”

Runners up: HOTA, Catch

Renewables Education sponsored by Hull College Group

Winner: Ron Dearing UTC

Ron Dearing UTC scooped the award just eight months on from opening its doors last September.

Judges were impressed with the partnerships forged with leading players in the green economy and the use of virtual reality tools to bring real-world offshore work to the classroom – and by the fact it is a new school and now oversubscribed for the next intake.

The UTC’s impressive line-up of partners includes Ørsted, the University of Hull, Siemens Gamesa, Spencer Group, KCOM, Smith & Nephew and RB.

Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We’re delighted by this accolade and by the recognition that we are playing our part in the exciting growth of renewable energy on the Humber.

“In many ways this is a tribute to our employer partners, who include many of the companies at the forefront of the green energy revolution. 

“They have been integral to shaping the school, our facilities, curriculum and ethos.

“We have learned from them the skills and qualifications they require to provide the pipeline of talent for their businesses and to maintain the momentum of the green economy.”

Mrs Pashley thanked Hull College Group, sponsor of the Education award and added: “Congratulations to our partners Spencer Group and Ørsted for their richly-deserved awards and to all our partners who are contributing to the region’s green energy success story.”

Runner up: Ormiston Maritime Academy (Teach First / Orsted)

Green Innovation sponsored by ABP

​Winner: MyEnergi

A first award on British soil came for Binbrook’s MyEnergi, with the micro-generation specialist taking the Innovation gong for its work on smart systems for home or commercial renewable applications, having also caught the eye at a large trade conference in Dublin last year. 

Inventor Lee Sutton, who created the Zappi electric vehicle charger and Eddi power diverter, said: “We are so very pleased to receive the award. It is great to be recognised for all the hard work we have put in for just over two years now.”

Referring to the backing from former Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy and investment house founder Bill Currie, Mr Sutton said: “We have attracted some very high profile investors, they are well behind us, and we have some very big growth plans. It is all happening faster than we expected, but we are really pleased about that. We’re actively recruiting new people, every month we are adding new staff.”

A team of 18 is now assembled, after starting with just a few as the pieces were picked up from 4 Eco Ltd, which was hit badly by the slashing of solar support, with Mr Sutton, then one of three directors, deciding to go alone, before being joined by business development director Jordan Brompton, also a finalist in the Women in Manufacturing and Engineering category. She said: “We are absolutely delighted, overwhelmed. Hopefully it is the first of many , and it really good to have the local recognition and support, we are so proud.”

The judges said: “Invention is the key to innovation, and we were taken by the huge strides made by such a fledgling organisation in the micro-generation sphere. It may be small, but it has attracted big backing from national business leaders and a sector champion.”

Runners up: Y Pellets, GEV Wind Power

Humber Renewables Medium / Large Business of the Year  sponsored by Humberbusiness.com

Winner: Singleton Birch

Singleton Birch’s self-realisation of the intensive energy use, and the way it acted to address spiralling costs saw it win the Humber Renewables Medium / Large Business of the Year Award.

The Melton Ross quarry not only invested in and then expanded its on-site anaerobic digestion plant, it then went a stage further and bought out the company that looked after it, and third party sites it had subsequently developed.

Chief executive of process industry partnership Catch, David Talbot, collected the accolade on behalf of his members, who were unable to attend. The accolade came during a busy week when a major £350,000 investment to house the new Birch Energy division and laboratories was signed off, underlining the progress being made since the acquisition.

It is a remarkable turnaround for the company, with a history of gas-guzzling sports cars to switch to green energy, with charities now benefiting from dividends.

The firm was started in 1815 by William Singleton Birch and been based on a quarry site in North Lincolnshire since 1850. It employs about 100 people and its majority shareholder is the Katherine Martin Charitable Trust, named after the wife of former company boss Lionel Walker Birch Martin, who used his income to fund his love of fast cars and established British superbrand Aston Martin.

Dividends paid to the trust are used to fund the works of children’s charity Barnardo’s, the NSPCC and the RSPCA.

The judges said: “The self-realisation and action taken on energy costs and generation by this intensive user really caught the eye, but was taken to the next level when the technology delivery was also acquired.”

Runners up: Spencer Group, Vivergo Fuels

Community Project sponsored by Spencer Group

Winner: HOTA 

Training provider HOTA was  crowned winner of the Community Project  at this year’s Humber Renewables Awards.

Established in 1987 and based in Hull,  HOTA, the Quality Training Provider, offers nationally approved training and tailor-made bespoke courses to meet individual and company specific training needs.

A limited company with charity status, all surplus funds generated are ploughed back into enhancing its training facilities at The Cullen and The Ellis buildings in Malmo Road and its Albert Dock site.

Karen Shepherd, chief executive of HOTA, was delighted to win the Community Project award.

She said: “Supporting other charities and local community groups has always been high on HOTA’s agenda.

“The annual charity dunk has always proved very popular and, over the years, this event has helped raise thousands of pounds for both  local and national charities.”

HOTA also utilises its facilities and staff to assist local companies such as nurseries, schools and other charities with affordable training in health and safety, first aid and firefighting.  

Runners up: Environmental and Management Solutions, Grimsby 10K

Women in Manufacturing and Engineering sponsored by E.on

Winner: Sarah West, ABP

Associated British Ports’ Sarah West picked up the Women in Manufacturing and Engineering Award. 

The Grimsby woman and former Royal Navy Commander heads up Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal, the world’s largest biomass reception port facility. 

She said: “This isn’t just for me, but the whole team, a great team, that is really professional, and I’m really proud of what we do, servicing our customer Drax, who we have a great relationship with.”

The £130 million investment welcomes huge vessels from Baton Rouge, laden with pellets.

Taking the helm of it, and her first job on ‘civvy street’ after a remarkable armed forces career, the former Toll Bar student said: “It has been a bit of a culture shock, but in many ways it is very similar. I have a strong team around me with a real work ethic, professional and wanting to please. It is a different ‘mission,’ a different customer, but it is the same management style.  

“I’m very proud of the region. I’m Grimsby born and bred, so knew all about the ports. This event has shown how much potential there is, I really care about this planet being here for future generations, and it is great inspiration that here in the region we are delivering that.”

The judges said: “Sarah’s CV, listing being the first woman to command a major warship in the Royal Navy ahead of being at the helm of the world’s largest biomass reception facilities at Port of Immingham, is impressive. With responsibility for 200,000 tonnes of cargo at any one time, and a dedicated 100-strong team, it is a challenging new feedstock for an exceptional client. The role has been embraced with enthusiasm.”

Commended: Women into Manufacturing and Engineering (WiME) collaborative programme, with the efforts of Kirsty Clode and Julie Shave

Runner up: Jordan Brompton, MyEnergi

Celebratory Ebook supplement:

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