A Yorkshire-based renewable energy company which specialises in biomass technology has increased its turnover by 50 per cent in its second year.
Regional Energy designs, installs and maintains biomass systems for hotels, country estates, farms, leisure centres, private homes and rural businesses across the UK. It has also just completed its first job at an independent school.
Biomass generates heat by burning organic materials such as wood chips or pellets from sustainable sources.
The company, based near Penistone in Barnsley, was set up in June 2013 by a team of three directors, Ian Sowerby, Dave Shaw and Gary Hague, each with more than 15 years’ experience in the renewables industry behind them.
The trio has increased sales from £950,000 in their first year of trading to £1.4 million at the end of year two, and now employs a team of 20 engineers and installers.
Regional Energy business development director Gary Hague said: “We have seen phenomenal growth in a growth industry and aim to increase turnover again by another half million in our third year.
“Renewable energy and particularly biomass are becoming increasingly important options for property owners and developers faced with the rising costs of fossil fuels and the growing need to develop sustainable alternatives.
“We are at the vanguard of this movement and our expansion has been built on our reputation. We’ve grown largely through word of mouth recommendations.
“For example, our biomass boiler system at a hotel in the Yorkshire Dales led to an enquiry from a garden centre owner in Essex who had stayed at the hotel and got talking to the owner.”
In Yorkshire, Regional Energy has installed biomass boilers at Hovingham Hall near York to heat 50 cottages and business premises on the estate; and Carlton Towers country house near Selby, to heat a range of facilities including a business centre housed within the former coach house. Regional Energy has also supplied biomass boilers to heat toilet and shower blocks at Wood Nook caravan park near Skipton and a sports and leisure centre in the Woodland Glade residential community near Huddersfield.
Gary said: “Biomass is a particularly good option for large, draughty properties and buildings in rural areas off gas mains supply which have traditionally had to rely on oil or LPG (liquified petroleum gas) for heat. We estimate these customers can save up to 70 per cent on their heating bills through biomass.
“And now is the time to invest in biomass because as well as providing a long-term, reliable and cost-effective heating solution, people can also earn money through a generous government incentive scheme to encourage people to develop green technologies.”
Regional Energy was set up largely in response to the introduction of the Renewable Heath Incentive (RHI) scheme introduced in 2013. This UK initiative – a world first – is similar to other feed-in tariff schemes for electricity generation, but rewards people for generating their own heat.
The Government introduced the RHI to boost the renewable energy market and help the UK meet its CO2 reduction targets set out in the 2005 Kyoto treaty. The scheme is issuing hundreds of incentive payments now, but may be wound down in future years.
Gary said: “Now is a great time to act. The RHI means green energy can help businesses generate profits as well as save money on heating. It’s a win – win.”
Regional Energy has installed biomass at the Stone House Hotel near Hawes in Wensleydale which it estimates will save its owners over £9,000 in annual fuel costs, and make them more than £15,000 a year in RHI payments for the next 20 years.
As well as working with customers who buy their own systems and benefit from RHI, the company also works with others who cannot afford the initial outlay themselves. These customers enter into agreements with a finance company, which takes on responsibility for purchase and maintenance of the systems and claims the RHI: the customer just pays for the heat it uses.
For example, Regional Energy has just supplied its first school, The Croft preparatory school in Stratford upon Avon, with three new biomass boilers. Gary estimates they will produce 700,000 kw of heat a year and reduce their C02 emissions by 2,000kg a year. These boilers were paid for by the Forest Fuels – a key partner of Regional Energy – which means the school has paid nothing up front and will just pay for the heat it uses.
Regional Energy is based at the Old Corn Mill near Penistone which is one of the country’s few carbon-negative commercial properties. This mean the building, through a combination of renewable energy technologies, produces more green energy than it consumes. Regional Energy installed the biomass boiler at the Old Corn Mill.