New Zealand renewable skills look set to gain an international boost with the merger of DesignPower New Zealand Ltd with the PB Power Group, part of Parsons Brinckerhoff's Energy Service Group (ESG), based in the US. The purchase is part of ESG's strategy to develop a strong global power engineering company, combining the resources of DesignPower and UK companies Kennedy & Donkin and Merz and McLellan. DesignPower was formerly a subsidiary of the large, state owned Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (Windpower Monthly, November 1997). While DesignPower has been well regarded in the international market, having access to the 200 offices and 7000 employees of Parsons Brinckerhoff will provide a major boost to its wind consultancy business. Less than a fortnight after the merger was officially announced, the company was already making itself known, says Martin Bird of PB Power NZ Ltd. "The whole thrust is about the reaction of a global power company that can draw local resources into international projects," Bird says. The merger was motivated by DesignPower's strong skills with wind, hydro, geothermal and solar energy. Bird sees the Asian market as the first port of call, with PB Power NZ to take the lead in developing renewable projects in this area, supported by the PB infrastructure already in place in the region.
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