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13/11/2018 - 16:37

As far as renewable energy and wind power go, Scandinavia is currently Europe's 'hotpot' for investments. In October, I had the pleasure of visiting the trade show 'VIND 2018' in Stockholm for 2 days of networking and industry updates, and what a brilliant 2 days it was. The trade show was buzzing with activity, and this years trade show managed to attract no less than 850 visitors, and 50 exhibitors. Now, this is of course not comparable to the scale of things in other areas of the world (like Hamburg wind energy), but for a trade show in Sweden, this is quite a turnout. I for one actually prefer the scale of the VIND exhibition, it is so much easier to manage to network and listen in on talks when it is smaller.

The main thing I find so nice about the VIND trade show is of course to meet new and old industry contacts and network, but also to hear more about what is actually happening in the industry. What is the progress on the offshore wind development in Sweden? Who are the innovators?

This brings me to this years 'talk of the town': the development of the first subsidy free onshore wind farms in Finland, and the company that has been paving the way in this area, are Swedish OX2. The company has taken the investment decision to construct four wind farms in Finland. These four projects will together compromise the largest subsidy free wind farm construction in the Nordics with a combined capacity of 107.4 MW (ox2.com). These projects mark a milestone, not only for OX2, but also for the Nordic wind industry as a whole. Being able to build wind farms without any financial subsidies is a positive step forward in the strive for decreasing emissions from other energy sources.

The four wind farms in question will all have Nordex N149 (4.0-4.5 MW) turbines and the wind farms are planned to be up and running by 2020 (production being estimated at 360 GWh per year). IKEA Retail Finland, part of Ingka Group, is financing the construction.

Of course, OX2 are not the only developers who are now moving forward to the subsidy free sphere. Both CPC Finland and TuuliWatti are planning to construct subsidy free wind farms over the next few years, with TuuliWattis wind farm project being set to be the first finished project that has been fully completed in Finland without any financial subsidiaries. Viinamaen wind farm will consist of five V150-4.2MW turbines supplied by Danish manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems (renewablesnow.com).

Why is this such a big deal? Well, subsidy-free means deployment without government-mandated support, which is a tremendous development in itself. The fact that these wind farms can now be developed without any financial support from the government shows that renewables are increasingly cost competitive with grid power in an increasing number of locations.

Although the arrival of subsidy-free renewables infers zero-carbon electricity at reduced costs for consumers, it is not without challenges (carbonbrief.org). To overcome the increased cost of financing subsidy-free schemes is only one aspect of it; managing variable renewables on the grid is challenging in itself.

However, this new era of wind farm development is welcome, especially in Finland, who have had some challenges in recent years with the expansion of wind farms in the country. Therefore it is nice to see this change of direction, and it certainly looks like Finland is on the rise.

On the flip-side of this, companies are continuously finding it increasingly difficult to find and maintain competent staff in the wind sector across Scandinavia. As I have previously discussed, there is a general shortage of electrical skills in the industry, especially when it comes to A-level authorised installation technicians in Sweden (if you are one of these rare candidates and are keen on a role in the wind sector - contact me: I have a job for you).

The other shortage of skills that the wind sector in Scandinavia is experiencing is people with experience on the construction side of the developments. Project Managers for construction, Construction Managers, BoP - the list goes on. One of the restrictions on this is the local language skills. This is often a requirement by Scandinavian companies, as the people will be dealing with local landowners, and legislation in the local language, and therefore, they need to speak it. However, many companies have started to realise the benefit of bringing in people from another heavy industry background, which may help with the shortage of skills in the long run. Let's face it, we are looking at an industry that needs to bring in fresh blood to grow. This is not only on the construction side, but also on the development side, and skills in Project Development, environmental studies and wind analysis are continuously more sought after. Based on recent trends, Finland seems to be set to require all of these competencies as well.

With that said; If you happen to have any of these skills above, and speak either Swedish, Finnish or Norwegian (depending on role) I want to speak to you, because I have a new job for you! Many of my clients have an urgent need for these skills.

 

The following roles are of particular interest at the moment:

* 1 Managing Director for Onshore Wind Farm Development - Hallands län (SE)

* 1 Construction Project Manager, Onshore Wind - Stockholm or Helsinki (FI)

* 1 Construction Project Manager, Onshore Wind - Västerås (SE)

* 1 Construction Director, Onshore Wind - Malmö, Halmstad, Hässleholm (SE)

* 1 BoP Package Manager for Onshore Wind - Gothenburg (SE)

* 1 Project Engineer for HV Systems - Malmö (SE)

* 1 Project Developer for environmental permits, Offshore Wind - Stockholm (SE)

* 1 Project Developer for environmental permits, Onshore Wind - Gothenburg (SE)

* 1 Electrical Installation Manager for Onshore Wind (Qualified according to Swedish A-level standards) - Malmö (SE)

* 1 Electrical Works Manager, Onshore Wind - Malmö (SE)

* 2 Wind Turbine Technicians with Electrical bias - Bromölla (SE)

* 2 Wind Turbine Technicians with Electrical bias - Halmstad (SE)

* 2 Wind Turbine Technicians with Electrical bias - Eslöv (SE)

 

If you are keen on these roles or know anyone who would be, please get in touch with me on +46 40 668 80 66, and send your latest CV to sigrid.carstairs@cathcartenergy.com

Even if these roles aren't of interest, but you have the above skills, I'd be happy to speak to you, as new opportunities come along all the time that require the above-mentioned skills, and visit our website on www.cathcartenergy.com to keep updated on new jobs.

 

Sigrid Carstairs

Recruitment Consultant

Cathcart Associated Energy Ltd.

 

17/09/2018 - 16:30

According to the Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) around half (43 per-cent) of renewables professionals are more content with their jobs compared to a few years ago.

Digitalisation is the key to happy employees, but why? It plays a significant role in the renewables Industry, due to the growing success in working lives, it is absorbing the most talented candidates. However, companies are advised to address potential drawbacks.

A study showed 40 per cent of employees were satisfied with the opportunity to work with front line technology. A further 36 per-cent explained the adaptable and remote working is a bonus. These key components are the reason for the Industry being so enthusiastic about its continuous benefits.

However, there are some worries such as scepticism and fear arousing with digitalisation. There are concerns that it could be decreasing the significance of Human intelligence, but technology is intensifying rather than replacing it. Allowing flexible and remote working sends positivity for industries which encourages a work-life balance and support for colleagues.

Looking into cutting-edge technology will help endorse potential with the newest innovations. For firms still on the starting line, this generation is the time to succeed.

- see more: https://www.energyjobline.com/article/the-secret-to-employee-happiness-is-renewable-energy/?s=1

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08/06/2018 - 10:19

Located in the North Sea, the Merkur offshore wind farm has produced it’s very first power, according to Merkur Offshore GmbH.

 

Following a successful first test, the turbine was gradually increased to the maximum power that could have been achieved at the time due to wind speed, which was 2MW.

 

In September 2018, the remaining turbines are scheduled to be installed with the 396MW offshore wind farm expected to be fully operational in 2019.

 

When finished, the offshore wind farm is estimated to supply half a million households with green energy.

 

- see more: https://www.the-eic.com/News/NewsStory/Merkur-offshore-wind-farm-produces-first-power.aspx?ArticleID=4527&tabid=766&dm_i=4E8P,A5GL,16Q0R7,140XV,1

03/05/2018 - 14:59

It is difficult to predict the future of renewable energy. Recently, however, there has been a lot of craze surrounding the sector.

 

Late last year, £340 million was raised by Greencoat UK Wind, along with The Green Investment Group who made an investment of £38 million. This resulted in the UK re-joining the top 10 countries for investment in renewables. Another sign of a resurgence in the renewables sector is the development of new technologies.

 

Additionally, In January 2018, Acuris carried out a survey which stated that the respondents believe offshore wind will see the biggest growth in M&A activity in 2018. With Hydropower, Photovoltaic solar and Thermal solar following closely behind.

 

This all points to a brighter and more sustainable future for Renewable Energy. If you are looking to recruit or need help obtaining a job within this sector, please do not hesitate to contact us at hello@cathcartenergy.com.

 

Read more on the Renewables sectors’ future: https://www.insider.co.uk/special-reports/renewable-energy-predictions-shepherd-wedderburn-12460684

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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.

 

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