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United Kingdom


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Renewable energy developer Ecogen has been undergoing a major slimming exercise after its disappointing performance in NFFO-3. Of the seven original shareholders only three remain. John Slade is now managing director and senior shareholder, Tim Kirby has become chairman while Austin Hamilton is financial director. John Slade stresses that Ecogen will still "fly in formation" with its ex-shareholders who left the company to concentrate on their own areas of expertise as consultants. The company did not get any of its English or Welsh sites through NFFO-3 but did succeed in securing three contracts under the Scottish Renewables Obligation -- two at Hagshaw Hill which have planning permission and are now moving forward into construction, and one at Largie where a planning decision is awaited. After shutting its office at Machynlleth, Wales, Ecogen is now concentrating on its Truro base in Cornwall with a presence in Scotland and Yorkshire. As well as becoming more lean and mean, Ecogen has had to reassess the direction in which it is going. "We are going to look at our roots and consider renewables other than wind, such as biomass and micro-hydro," says Slade. He is enthusiastic about opportunities abroad -- particularly in 'just developing' countries of Africa and South America where he believes mobile renewable packages could be the best way of meeting local energy needs. "In the meantime we are still working on our six remaining wind projects with a view to re-bidding them into NFFO-4. We are also looking at new sites, perhaps with new joint venture partners" says Slade. He claims that Ecogen's relationship with US wind developer SeaWest and Japanese backers Tomen worked extremely well on its NFFO-2 developments. "However we must not put too many eggs into one basket."

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