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News from the UK Power Industry 26th February 2019

Posted by: James Turner
Industry News

Why the nuclear industry needs diversity

With reports indicating that diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their competitors, UK industries are being encouraged to look more closely at their diversity strategies.

Zoe Stollard, Partner at UK law firm Clarke Willmot, has praised the nuclear industry for opening doors and encouraged more industries to follow suit, stating: “Businesses that actively recruit, promote and encourage diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, age and skills at all levels in their organisation are more likely to generate a more cohesive, attractive, balanced and dynamic business to work in.”

Stollard goes on to address the elephant in the room – that businesses as well as individuals often have stereotypical images of the people who work in certain sectors. The nuclear sector has been very proactive in recent years to promote and encourage diversity. The Women in Nuclear (WiN) initiative which was established in 2014 is part of a global network dedicated to achieving a gender balance within the industry. They achieve this by opening more dialogues in order to increase attraction and retention of women in nuclear.

The government currently has a target to make 40% of the nuclear industry’s professionals women by 2030. “Since its launch in 2014, the percentage of women employed in nuclear has risen from 17 per cent to 22 per cent, demonstrating that progress is being made,” explained Stollard. “I have been in the construction and nuclear sector for over 17 years and it is great to see that more women are entering the sector in many different job roles and careers.”

Stollard highlighted the importance of recruiting outside of the “conventional” target workforce to reach a more diverse demographic of under-represented genders and more diverse nationalities. The hope is that this will open industries up to more people. The goal is to see a workforce filled with a more diverse and more highly-skilled team of professionals.

Navartis Business Manager and Power Recruitment Specialist James Turner commented: “It’s great to see the UK make such strong a commitment to promote diversity in the power industry. At Navartis we applaud the efforts being made to see a diverse range of people entering the industry.” Full story.
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How a no-deal Brexit could affect the UK’s low-carbon energy transition

The Brexit deadline looms and more and more people are fearing a no-deal option. Nothing is certain but energy and policy experts have speculated on what such an outcome would mean for the UK’s low-carbon transition.

During a panel discussion held by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) experts in the industry addressed how investment into UK renewables projects would be affected in a no-deal scenario. They commented that leaving without a deal would “undeniably” lead to investors classing British renewable projects as more of a risk, resulting in funding limitations for the UK.

CMS Cameron McKenna’s head of clean energy Munir Hassan commented: “In situations where the commercial plans may not be financially sufficient by themselves – particularly where emerging technologies are involved – it may be harder to secure investor interest.”

However, Hassan was quick to highlight that while a no-deal Brexit would certainly affect spending, there’s still a large element of guess work. “People think that the impact of a no-deal on clean energy investment is an empirical fact for the UK, but it is not,” he added. Hassan predicts a kind of “gentleman’s agreement” with the EU for the sake of continuity and security.

So as we move forward towards Brexit only time will tell how the energy industry will be affected. Full story.

Drax Group generates £13m profit to become industry leader

This morning (February 26th) Drax Group announced a (pre-tax) profit of £13.8m for the 12 months to December 31st 2018, making them “one of the leading generators of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity in the UK” – Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO.

Drax generated revenues of £4.23bn in 2018, compared to £3.68bn in 2017 and a huge element of their success was their absorption of Scottish Power’s pumped storage, hydro and gas-fired generation portfolio which was acquired for £702m.

In North Yorkshire, Drax operates the UK’s largest power station and there are no signs of slowing down. “Drax performed well in 2018. Our commitment to operating safely and sustainably remains at our core,” explained Gardiner.

“We commissioned our third pellet production plant, which contributed to our good results. We have attractive investment opportunities throughout our business, and while short-term uncertainty over the capacity market remains, we look forward to developing those opportunities in a disciplined fashion.” Full story.

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