Farmgen develops team to boost rural energy venture

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 03 Jun 2010 11:45
Farmgen's new commercial director Phil McVan

Leading green power specialist Farmgen has created a number of key roles to strengthen its team as it drives forward the biggest ‘energy farming’ programme in the UK.

The appointments follow the announcement of the firm’s £30 million investment in rural Anaerobic Digestion plants and the creation of its power supply arm, Farmgen Energy.

Phil McVan joins the company as Commercial Director. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the renewable energy sector as a managing director, business development director and consultant. A graduate of the University of Birmingham, where he received a B.Sc (Hons) in Biological Sciences, he also graduated from the acclaimed PACE business growth and strategy programme at Manchester Business School.

During his career in the sector, Phil has been Managing Director of a number of renewable energy companies and was a key member of the senior management team at Inenco, the UK’s leading energy analyst and consultancy, where he was Group Marketing Director.

Hardy Radke joins the Farmgen team as Head of Technical Services. An experienced and renowned biogas specialist, who originally worked in the field of anaerobic wastewater and waste treatment, Hardy has held key roles in a number of German-based power companies.

He spearheaded MT-Energie’s UK operation and was also Managing Director for Biogas Nord in this country. Germany has led the way in AD power generation in Europe, with more than 4,000 plants operating across the country. Hardy will play a major role in ensuring Farmgen’s AD technology continues to be a market leader and in the development of Farmgen’s network of rural-based plants.

Kate Stocker is the new Environmental Manager at Farmgen. Her role is to secure permits for the company’s plants and to ensure they meet the highest environmental standards. Kate, who has a degree in environmental sciences from the University of Portsmouth, joins Farmgen from environmental and energy services consultancy WSP Environmental and Energy.

During her time at WSP she worked on Integrated Pollution Prevention Applications for high-profile companies including Colgate Palmolive and was involved in Environmental Impact Assessments for operations including Southern Energy.

Helen Farrell also joins the Blackpool-based team as Office Manager. She was previously Operations and Finance Manager at marketing agency nxo, based in Preston, Lancashire.

Ed Cattigan, chief operating officer of Farmgen, said: “We are delighted with these appointments. Each brings to our company great experience and enthusiasm. We are building a team at Farmgen that is second to none in the AD sector and we believe that our growing expertise is a key factor in our expansion plans. We offer a complete turnkey service to our clients and to do that requires professionals of the calibre we have throughout Farmgen.”

The new team members are already involved in Farmgen’s projects across the UK. They include a £2.5m environmentally-friendly power plant in Silloth, Cumbria, where construction work is set to start later this year.

The plant at Dryholme Farm is scheduled to be fully operational and supplying electricity to power more than 1,000 homes during next year. A similar Farmgen plant in Warton, near Preston, Lancashire, is already under construction and due to start supplying power to the national grid later this year.

The new AD plants use crops from fields surrounding the participating farms to create ‘biogas’, which is then used to generate electricity.

Farmgen has also launched its own branded energy offering - selling power generated from its Anaerobic Digestion plants to rural businesses and communities. Farmgen Energy aims initially to supply its power to customers in North Cumbria and is targeting 2,000 farms in the area.

Farmgen says its new supply arm aims to end farmers’ reliance on the energy supply giants. Its customers will also be supporting the local rural economy and will be using energy from sustainable sources, as well as making cost savings.

Ed Cattigan continued: “The fact we now have a £30m investment plan in place, creating the biggest AD expansion programme in the country, and have launched Farmgen Energy, shows just how quickly things are moving for us and for ‘energy farming’.”

AD plants are broadly carbon-neutral and compared with other alternative renewable energy generators, such as wind turbines, have significantly less visual impact and deliver reliable renewable energy 24 hours a day whatever the weather.

Farmgen is spearheading a farm-based renewable energy revolution nationwide. Planning applications are being prepared for more plants in Lancashire, Cumbria and Staffordshire, as well as other sites which are currently being lined up across the UK.

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