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22/03/2018 - 16:04

Norway, once known as Europes largest Oil & Gas producer, is making a remarkable transition towards renewable energy. Sure, the country has been a big producer of renewables for many
years, mainly thanks to the many hydropower plants across the country. And things are about to get greener.

Over the last few years, there has been a significant movement away from the Oil & Gas sector, and recently some of the largest Scandinavian actors out there, like previous Dong Energy (now Orsted) and Norwegian entity Statoil, rebranding themselves as Equinor. And it's not really unexpected. The citizens of Scandinavia are highly aware of climate-sensitive issues and dedicated to fighting climate change.

Norway has become a hub for green investors from Europe, and several large actors are investing in the country's development of onshore wind power. Back in 2012, Norway had a capacity of 700MW and the goal is to increase this to 2GW by the year 2020. And it seems they are well on their way. In 2016, Norwegian Statkraft and TrønderEnergi started the construction of their 1GW project Fosen in central Norway. The wind farm will consist of 6 wind farms with a total of 278 turbines, all supplied from Danish Vestas, and the foundations will be delivered by the Norwegian subsidiary of Peikko Group. This project will more than double Norway's current wind capacity, which is not a small feat and definitely encouraging for the future of the country's wind power market.

Norway has a reliable regional and national grid structure, as well as optimal conditions for wind power, and there are both local developers and investors involved in the mix. Swedish Eolus Vind, as well as Nordisk Vindkraft (a subsidiary of RES), are both on the market, with Eolus developing Øyfjellet in Nordland and Nordisk Vindkraft working on the Buheii project in Vest Agder shire. Moreover, large European developers have realised the potential of Norway, and companies such as Italian based Falck Renewables and Swiss Scanenergy are developing projects in the Northern part of the country.

And Norway's commitment to the development of their onshore wind sector is strong. According to Norwegian energy minister Tord Lien, they "intend to ensure that the solutions that the energy market promises, allow us to improve the flexibility of the national energy system. Our aim is to strengthen the energy cooperation between the Scandinavian countries to create a solid, modern energy distribution network. The new technologies and the use of smart management systems will help to improve the future security of supplies". Norway is on track, and are becoming an increasingly sustainable country.

So, what are the challenges in this lucrative market, full of possibility? Well, from what I hear from my network of clients, there is a skills shortage in the Norwegian Wind Sector, which is proving to be challenging for the continued development of the market. In particular, it's difficult to find wind turbine technicians, construction managers with experience of groundworks, and experienced HSE Advisors who can ensure that quality and safety is maintained on site. What can be done here?

A lot of foreign developers tend to bring in workers from their main country of operation, and several companies bring over workers from the UK (in particular Site Managers and HSE Advisors). However, there are challenges with that. First of all, Norway is expensive, and if a company sends workers out for a substantial amount of time, they will need to pay for accommodation, otherwise, the normal day rates that apply in the sector will skyrocket. Then there is also the issue of Norwegian tax. See, everyone who works in Norway for more than 3 days in a row, is liable to pay Norwegian tax. I know, Scandinavia is tricky. But there are valid reasons behind it, and essentially, it's government regulations so we just have to deal with it.

So, what to do? There has always been a lot of crossover between Sweden and Norway in particular, and I would say if you can't find good workers in Norway, try Sweden. The languages are very similar, and so is the culture and terrain.

However, if you have the option to hire a local guy, that is always the best way to go about things by far. They will know how things work, they will know the system, and they won't be crazy shocked at how expensive everything is. But in order to do this, you pretty much need to have a Norwegian subsidiary, or run them through an agency, as Norwegian employment law is strict. Also, make sure you budget properly for the region. Employing someone in Norway is not cheap. There are all sorts of other things to consider when operating in Norway as a foreign entity, and in Scandinavia in general, however, I will cover those in a separate article later on.

With that said, the future for the Norwegian wind sector sure looks promising, and if you are planning to enter the market, I am happy to speak about the challenges and opportunities it provides. Moreover, if you are looking to recruit in Norway, and need some local skills, just get in touch by calling +46 40 668 80 66 or send an email to sigrid.carstairs@cathcartenergy.com, and I would be more than happy to help.

Sigrid Carstairs
Renewable Energy Consultant
Cathcart Associates Energy Ltd.

 

22/01/2018 - 16:26

Being the home to some of the worlds largest wind energy companies (Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Orsted A/S), it should come as no surprise that Denmark has once again set a world record, with the largest percentage of it's energy production last year originating from wind energy (43,4%). And they are not about to slow down any time soon. The Danish government aims to derive 50% of all it's energy consumption from renewable energy sources by the year 2030. Now, I'm no mathematician (to be honest I'm far from it), but is seems they are pretty much on target to achieve this.

The massive investments that we have seen in renewable energy across the Nordic countries is now paying off, and on Tuesday night this week the Nordic region set a new record when it comes to the production of energy from renewable sources. This week, wind power produced 12.1 GW in total across the Nordic region. (To put this in context, it is according to vindkraftsnyheter.se more than all nuclear power in the Nordic regions can produce per hour). Not bad.

And that's not it. Denmark is seeing large investments projected in renewables, with Vattenfall Wind planning to add more than 20% to Danish wind capacity over the next 5 years, investing more than 2,6 billion euro in Denmarks transition to become fully powered by renewable energy (afp.com). This makes Swedish Vattenfall the largest developer of wind power in Denmark (look out Orsted and Vestas)!

However, there are concerns regarding the market.

According to the Danish Energy Minister, Lars Chr. Lilleholt, the price of energy is moving in a downward spiral in Denmark (bloomberg.com), and the generation of energy has exceeded the market demand at this point, which can cause problems similar to those we have seen on the German market recently, and the downturn in growth the Swedish market experienced a few years back (and now seems to be coming back from). The problem when the electricity price is to low is that it scares off investors, which slows down the development of new wind farms. And this is not something that any of us in the industry (or who cares about the environment) want's to see.

However, Denmark seems confident in the continued development of wind power across the nation, and according to Lilleholt, he is confident wind will no longer need state support in the form of subsidiaries (bloomberg.com). And with Vestas forecasting to up it's cash flow in the year to 31 December of between €1.15bln and €1.25bln, up from previous guidance of between €450m and €900m, the prognosis sure looks promising. As Orsted moves away from their oil & gas background to become fully renewable, and MHI Vestas growing at a steady pace, I am confident Denmark will continue to hold its place as world leader of wind energy for a long time to come, and as the industry grows, the need for more qualified people in the industry will increase.

So, if you are looking to recruit, and need help, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on +46 40 668 80 66, or by sending an email to sigrid.carstairs@cathcartenergy.com.

The same goes if you are looking for a new role in the renewable energy sector in Denmark, or across Scandinavia.

Sigrid Carstairs
Renewable Energy Consultant
Cathcart Associates Energy

18/01/2018 - 17:29

The capacity of offshore wind could increase dramatically by the 2030s resulting in a massive reduction of carbon emissions and positively saving on consumer bills.            

A report form Aurora Energy predicts that by 2025, the number of wind turbines in the seas could be built with contract that are “zero-subsidy”.

Aurora senior project leader Hugo Batten said: "Stabilising future market revenues via contracts for difference significantly reduces risks for investors and is critical in attracting financing and supporting further offshore wind build-out, albeit some future price or merchant risk is transferred to the government and ultimately consumers."

Read more on this: https://www.insider.co.uk/news/offshore-wind-projects-2018-predictions-1...

 

Wind Park, Pinwheel, Wind Power

24/11/2017 - 16:34

Swedish wind energy has been in somewhat of a slumber the last few years, where the market has suffered from low prices on electricity, as well as an excess of power produced as compared to the demand required. And it’s no wonder the market crashed – Sweden has been setting records year after year, and with the low prices on electricity, competition between suppliers disappeared. Indeed, the future for Swedish wind power looked quite bleak. However, this is all about to change.

When I visited the annual wind exhibition in Stockholm in October (VIND 2017), I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was there a positive outlook from the Swedish Wind Energy Association, but the different developers and suppliers to the industry also seemed quite cheery about the future for Swedish wind power.

And indeed – the wind of change has arrived.


According to the Swedish Wind Energy Association, the amount of orders in the second quarter of 2017 went as high a 635 MW, and they are anticipating wind power production to increase form 17,3 TWh to 22 TWh until 2020. And over the last few months, there have been several approvals and announcements for large wind farm developments in Sweden, such as GE partnering with Green Investment Group (GIG) to develop and operate 650 MW in Northern Sweden (Markbygden 1), who is expected to be the largest onshore wind farm in Europe, and the ongoing development of Åskälen in Jämtland by Swedish developer Vasa Vind and APG. Moreover, several smaller developers have started moving along with their approved developments, and the marker very well seems ready to continue its journey towards Swedens goal of a 100% renewable energy system by the year of 2040.

 

 

However, some challenges remain.


Although this all sounds quite promising, it is important to remember that all is now yet won. According to the Swedish Wind Energy Association, the situation is still quite tough for many of the developers that invested early on when both the investment cost and return on investments were considerably higher. Moreover, there is an industry wide concern regarding the municipal veto, which tends to stop many projects at a late stage, when funds have been invested and a lot of work has been put into the projects. There is a legislative proposal up which seeks to abolish this veto. Hopefully, this becomes reality, so the industry can continue its path of recovery.

What does this mean for Swedish wind?


The general industry consensus seems to be that the market is still very much recovering from the downturn after having an excess of development. However, there is casual positivism in the air. From my own point of view, I have seen an increase in demand for candidates working with Construction Management and HSE. This is a strong indicator that the industry is picking up; there are plans to start building again. And an even stronger indicator is the number of Sales Managers the industry is requiring. When companies start looking for candidates in the area of sales, you know there is growth on the horizon.

So, with that in mind – if you are looking for a new role in the renewable energy sector in Sweden (as well as Norway, Finland and Denmark), and you have experience working with either construction, HSE or sales in the Swedish wind energy market, please get in touch with me at +46 40 668 80 66 or send an email to sigrid.carstairs@cathcartenergy.com.

Sigrid Carstairs

Recruitment Consultant
Cathcart Associates Energy Limited

14/11/2017 - 16:51

Everyone who has ever applied for a job is well aware of the sometimes exhausting process of updating your CV. And of course, it is even more of a challenge if you haven’t got that much experience to fill it with. Furthermore, there are many myths out there, telling candidates what a good CV is. How can you ensure that you sell your experience in the best possible way? What should you include and exclude? In this article, I will list my experiences on this topic as a recruiter, and share some insights on what companies and recruiters look for in a CV.

The first myth that needs to be addressed is the one of the ‘one-page CV’. This is something that everyone comes across, and especially if you’re from any of the Scandinavian countries. And even University tells you this is the way to go. I myself was a firm believer that one page was the best way to ensure the recruiter had time to look at my experience. Because no one has time to read through page after page where you ramble on about yourself, right?

 

Wrong.

The thing about one-page CVs is: you have absolutely no way of managing to include all your relevant experience. You can list your jobs, your level of education and maybe manage to fit in some language and computer skills, at best. But it will look messy. And it will be hard to read as more than often you will have messed around with the font making it smaller. This is not very helpful for the recruiter or hiring manager sitting on the other side, who’s trying to understand your experience and if you are a good fit for the job.

In order to ensure that you ‘sell yourself’ in the best possible way, you need to be quite detailed. Now, I don’t mean that you should write a book or anything like that, and sure, if you’re fresh out of University and don’t have a lot of experience yet, 2 pages might suffice. However, you need to include details.

First of all, it’s important to ensure that the person on the other side understands what type of companies you have been working for, especially if you are trying to move from one type of industry to another (e.g. moving from the oil & gas sector to renewables). Many industries have skills that are transferable into other ones, however, it’s not always the case that the person reading your CV knows which companies that are relevant. So, my advice is to include a couple of descriptive roles about previous companies you have worked for and what they do in their industry. That way you will be able to make the recruiter or hiring manager understand if your experience is applicable for the role you are applying for.

My second suggestion is to make sure you bring out aspects under each role of what you actually did in your job with each company. If you were working on the erection of big telecom masts, then include what things you need to do on a daily basis in this job (e.g. groundworks, foundations, dealing with contractors, etc). Likewise, if you are applying for a technical job as a wind turbine technician, explain what you have been doing in your role as a turbine technician so far. Include the details about bolt torquing, fault finding in PLC systems, replacing main components, and how you would go about this. This is what recruiters and hiring managers want to know. (Not if you liked your manager or not). 

Now that’s out of the way, let’s deal with the layout. Now, I have seen a lot of CV’s where the candidate has obviously put a lot of effort and detail into the font, colour and general graphics of the CV. And here is my advice: unless you are searching for a job as graphical designer, avoid this at all costs.

The reasons behind these are several, and one of them is quite straightforward: recruiters and hiring managers don’t look at the colours of the font or what graphs you have included. They want to know if you are right for the job, and the only way they can do this is to read about your experience. Now, if you have messed up your CV with charts and colour explosions, this may very well make the recruiter, or the hiring manager just not look at it in detail at all, because it doesn’t look serious and quite frankly, they don’t have the time to search for your experience in the explosion of colours and diagrams. 

Keep it simple. List the company you worked for, your job title, the period of time you were there. Then underneath each of your previous roles, describe the company and the industry they are operating in, and then go into detail about what your responsibilities were on a daily basis. And make it real. Provide examples or so called “wins”. If you have had a job where performance and targets were measured, include this and spell out the actual figures. The best CV’s that I have seen are detailed and to the point at the same time, which can be a tricky thing to master. However, this is the way you get the attention of the person who is looking to hire. Not through unexplained charts and graphs that don’t explain anything relevant at all. So, if you want the recruiter or hiring manager to take your seriously, ditch the advanced graphics and keep it clean. 

My next point will address the fact that a lot of CV’s are sent in PDF files. Now, this is fine if you are sending it directly to a company, however, if you are dealing with a recruiter, this is an absolute nightmare, as the recruiter does a lot of extra work with your CV before sending it out to the client, including writing up a front sheet, ensuring good spelling and grammar etc. So, if you are being represented by a recruiter, word is your friend. (This also goes for the graphical aspects with charts and diagrams all over the CV: just leave them out). 

 

Above is an example of a CV what recruiters and hiring managers will probably just discard. The CV is messy, and when you look at it, it’s not really explaining what the candidate is good at or what they have been doing in their career. The software skills (with a 'z' I might add) have no indication of what is good or bad, as there is no scale to the columns, and how can you be 17% at Character Design? How did you assess this percentage? The columns and charts don’t say anything about the experience of the candidate, and although they may look cool, they are just unhelpful and messy. So, don’t do it.

I also would like to address the aspect of the photo on the CV. Now, if this should be included or not is always a debate, and in all honesty, it depends on which country you are working in. Across Scandinavia, a photo on your CV is quite common, whilst in the UK, it's a classical no go.

My advice here is if you are going to include a photo on your CV, make sure it's professional (this means no pictures with your dog or you on your holiday).

There are several other things to think of when writing a good CV, and I could probably go on forever about this (but I won’t). However, there is one more thing which needs to be addressed, and that’s the covering letter.

The covering letter is something that serves as your own personal touch to an otherwise general CV. This is where you get to present yourself, and why you would be good for this particular role. And yet, the vast majority of covering letters that I have seen are generic, and not tailored to the job specification or company at all. So, what’s my point here?

 

Put some effort in the covering letter.

It’s as simple as that, and a good covering letter can go a long way. First of all, it shows that you have put some effort into researching the company and the role, and that you have a genuine interest in it. Secondly, it provides you with an excellent chance of presenting yourself and who you are, and most importantly of all: why they should hire you. So, put some effort in, and write a good covering letter, and include your key achievements and long-term goals with your career.

 

To sum this article up, these are the things you need to do:

·        Let the ‘one-page’ CV be history – that’s where it belongs

·        Explain what each company does and what industry they operate in

·        Be detailed about your experience and show that you know your stuff

·        Avoid pie charts and diagrams – they’re not helpful

·        Include key achievements and careers “wins” in your CV

·        Make sure to write up a nice covering letter – and ditch the generic one for good

    

I hope this article is helpful, and please get in touch if you are looking for a new job in the renewable energy sector across Scandinavia.

 

Sigrid Carstairs

Recruitment Consultant

Cathcart Associates Energy Limited

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