Renewable energy consultancy K2 Management has revealed it will look to move into UK renewable energy development, which will include a big focus on Scottish projects.
The firm’s new UK country manager, Gary Bills, who K2 snatched from rival Mott MacDonald this year, confirmed that his company will be focussing on the Scottish onshore wind market, while building K2’s involvement in the construction of UK offshore and solar projects.
The consultancy currently has 220 employees in 20 offices around the world, with three UK offices in Glasgow, Bristol, London and an Irish office in Cork.
A veteran of the renewable energy industry for almost 20 years, Mr Bills has worked on a number of wind and solar projects in Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, Serbia the UK, South Africa and Argentina.
He said: “My heart lies in renewable energy.
“Typically what K2 have done in the past is they’ve targeted offshore wind and a little bit of onshore wind.
“My ambition is to completely level that up so that we’re doing solar, offshore wind and onshore wind, which means we’re going to spend a lot of time focusing on the solar market in the UK.
“Given the burgeoning onshore wind market, we’re also going to spend a great deal of time there too.”
Only six weeks in post, Mr Bills has an ambitious new vision to build on K2’s project work in Asia, Latin America and Europe.
He said he wants K2 Management to now push into the UK market, especially Scotland.
Asked if the most of the firm’s work will be based in Scotland due to the political uncertainty surrounding onshore wind in England, Mr Bills said: “It would be fair to assume that.
“The resource is there and with the relaxation around some planning restrictions it would make sense to put the turbines where the wind is anyway, so we will be in Scotland mainly.
“I think the development community (in England) has got tired of waiting, you can already see that in what is happening.
“We can’t wait any longer and the technology is shifting as such that we can now finance it at these numbers, and I don’t see any appetite within central government to introduce a tariff or a subsidy for onshore wind.”
Discussing his new role with K2, Mr Bills claims the “most important thing” is for the firm to balance its business to be active across the solar, onshore and offshore wind markets,
He said: “That’s our primary objective, and our staffing will reflect that moving forward.
“There are certain aspects of our business that are not recognised in the UK – one of those are construction management and the actual building of the project.
“If you look at our overseas activities, that’s pretty much where we’re focussed, and now we need to be known for that inside the UK and Irish market as well.”
Mr Bills admits that the current competition in the wind and solar market is “fierce”, but adds that the UK has one of the best growth prospects in the world and where K2 should be growing its portfolio.
He said: “What’s interesting now is that, while we’re homogenising what we do and taking that global experience we’ve created into the UK market, it’s interesting to see that the players that’re coming in to Round 3 and possible the next ScotWind round are also going to be different, bigger players from other markets.
“I’m expecting to see Japanese players and American players come into the UK offshore scene where the big money is – and that is something we will have to deal with, for sure.”