Friday, 19 December 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from EcoSearch

All at EcoSearch would like to wish our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

We are all looking forward bringing you more exciting news, views and snippets from the world of talent in Renewable Energy, Clean Tech and Carbon Management in 2009.

If you would like to keep up to date over the festive period, EcoSearch is now on Twitter. So feel free to follow @EcoSearch and never miss a thing.

Monday, 8 December 2008

The Monster is evolving...

Internet job boards came on the scene in the mid nineties and revolutionised the way we look for a new job.

No longer do we wait for Thursday’s newspaper and head to the opportunities section with our red marker pen, ready to circle whatever looks interesting.

Now I can look for jobs on any day of the week, without even leaving my house to go to the news agent. I could wake up in the middle of the night, wondering what others doing a role like mine are earning and get an approximation in just minutes by switching on my computer.

If I feel tempted, and have my CV ready, I can apply with just a few clicks of my mouse. No need to worry about having nice paper to print on or ink in my printer. I don’t need to buy an envelope or even a stamp.

Searching on the internet for a job allows us to find opportunities in companies that we have not heard of or companies that we might not have thought to send our CV to otherwise. I could even add my CV to a database and then do NOTHING – just wait for the right job to come and find me while I get on with my life.

It sounds pretty nifty to me already. So when Monster says that it’s all about to change, you have to take notice! Monster’s CEO and Chairman, Sal Iannuzzi says that the new website will be almost a 100% rebuild. There will be new features and functionality unique in the industry. Debby Lloyd and I attended a launch breakfast for the new site at Altitude on the 29th floor of the Milbank Tower in London Last Monday. The full extent of the rebuild was confirmed when we were shown just how different the site will look and feel for both candidates and recruiters.

A lot of other job boards have recently gone through overhauls and then spent a lot of money on advertising. I was approached by following their re-launch earlier this year. I had, of course, seen their new advertisements on E4 (just before Scrubs) and so was unconsciously aware that something was going on in that world. But was it fish4jobs or totaljobs or could it have been jobsite? It’s really hard to say. I wonder how these other job boards will react to their already much more recognisable competitor coming in and trouncing them all with a career management revolution.

How can it get any better?

Monster has not done anything by half measures. They have spent many millions of dollars on THE BEST search tools that money can buy to analyse their industry leading CV database (I don’t even know if I’m allowed to tell you how many CVs that is). This means they can provide job seekers with information regarding likely future career moves based upon their previous experience, or allow someone to input their career goals to find out what they need to do to get there.

When you go to the homepage of New Monster, it won’t look the same for any two people. New Monster goes beyond the Niche Job Board provision – it is a 100% personal and customisable job board. You see what you tell it you want to see, and the most relevant jobs will find you. I don’t know anywhere else I can get that.

On a more logistical level, the sign up process has been streamlined. It will now only take 50% of the time to create your profile (My Monster) and upload your CV (but only if you want to). This gives job seekers more time to be focusing on their career rather than plodding through the dull sign-up process getting bored and frustrated.

This new stage of evolution will allow the job seeker to not only have control over their job search, but their entire career path. The aim is for you to be able to look at your present experience and compare with others, see possible future career paths and how to effectively take the next steps. You will also come back to the site regularly, just to see that you are still going in the right direction, this might allow you to see an opportunity for faster progression you might otherwise have missed.

I can’t wait to see it working!

New monster goes live on Saturday 10th January 2009.

By Katharine Robinson
Research Associate

Friday, 5 December 2008

The Clean Capital Network

On Monday evening (1st December) I went to The Clean Capital Network in Mayfair, London. The event is a networking event focused on helping growth companies in clean-tech and clean energy achieve successful financing. With 120 people registered it was a busy night full of familiar faces and the odd glass of Champagne – a fantastic evening in short!

There are all sorts of people that attend, from lawyers, R&D engineers, consultants, to investment firms plus the related services. To be blunt on the attendees, there are three distinct groups of people; one group with bright ideas and technologies who require funding, one who are investors seeking potential projects and the third is the service providers to the other two – e.g. legal, research and insurance.

It works on the ‘Dragons Den’ investor pitch format, where you have 5 or 10 minutes to say who you are, what your project is and what you are looking for. Usually investees request between £1 million and £25 million.

Out the interesting people I met, one seemed very switched on – A Managing Director of a small scale hydro project development company in Chile, normally 2 to 20 MW in size. He is a really interesting gentleman who is dedicated to providing South America with reliable and inexpensive energy with an immaculate engineering background. Is there also a tie in with the generation of carbon credits?

The main reason for the service industries, such as EcoSearch, attending is because a large proportion of the evening is dedicated to networking and conversation about the renewable world, what the current developments and trends meaning it is a great opportunity to hear and discuss this market and its upward trend!

The Clean Capital Network runs monthly so I hope to see some of you there In the New Year!

By Steven Rogers
Carbon Markets Sector Lead

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Fancy a glass of wine at BWEA Connect?

Debby and I are looking forward to attending the next BWEA Connect evening on Wednesday 10th December at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London.

With over 400 people registered already, it’s going to be a fun (and very busy) evening, hopefully with a festive theme to it! With people from every angle of the Renewable Energy sector - legal, insurance, technical and consultancies - it’s such a great opportunity to find out about what’s new and what’s hot in the Wind Energy sector, and beyond.

Another great reason for going is the venue itself. Last time I was in the ICE’s headquarters, in Great George Street (also at a BWEA event as it happens), I found myself suddenly very self conscious about the fact I was staring at the ceiling, at a wonderful painting illustrating the involvement of Civil Engineers in the First World War. It’s a fantastic building, designed by James Miller and completed in 1913. James Miller was a Scottish Architect, also famously known for many of his buildings in Glasgow, and Scottish railway stations. I wonder if he realised that his building would host events such as a meeting of hundreds of dedicated professionals, committed to helping generate clean energy in the UK and across the world.

If you can find the time (and if there’s still space, register here or check with Alice from BWEA), it’ll be a great way to start the Christmas season! We look forward to seeing you there, don't forget to let us know you are coming via the EcoSearch Facebook page.

By Clare Buxton
Wind Energy Sector Lead

Monday, 1 December 2008

Our Favourites to follow on Twitter for Green News

If you are already using Twitter then this needs no introduction.

If you are new to this fast growing social media phenomenon then I suggest you take a look at signing up. It takes a couple of minutes and appears oddly simple and a little pointless at first. If you keep using it though, its power soon becomes evident.

This was inspired by a fantastic post by Darren Rowse (@problogger) on his twitter tips blog, TwiTip. If you would like to learn more about twitter, this is a great place to get ideas and find out who you should be following.

For those of you looking for interesting green folks to follow, here are few favourites from the EcoSearch office:

  1. @BBC _Earth – for all things nature, eco and energy

  2. @BigGreenSwitch – Energy saving tips ever day

  3. @CEBUX – our very own Clare Buxton brings you wind industry news and interesting updates from the EcoSearch blog

  4. @EcoWales – Eco and Green from a Welsh perspective, fed from the Cardiff School of Journalism

  5. @Glaci3r - environmental news, reviews, and media

  6. @GreatGreen – for green shopping tips

  7. @Greenpep – Interesting sites, blog posts and retweets

  8. @Greenprofs – for blog posts and news from Green Professionals

  9. @Novogreen – blog posts and news articles

  10. @UN_ClimateTalks – Get the news straight from the talks taking place 1st – 12th December.

We would be delighted to know who you enjoying following for your fix of green news and views, please make suggestions in the comments.

By Katharine Robinson

You may also find interesting:
15 Online News Sources For Renewable Energy and The Carbon Markets

Friday, 28 November 2008

State of the Ice Technology

Phillip Clement and the rest of the EcoSearch team attended an event on Tuesday to meet the Ice Team of the upcoming Catlin Arctic Survey. Phillip takes a trip down memory lane to gives his thoughts on the technology needed for such a vitally important scientific mission.

My first proper job after leaving college was with a small and not very well known radio telecommunications company called RACAL (soon to evolve into Vodafone). As a fresh-faced wet behind the ears engineer, but a wannabe Gordon Geckko (Wall Street 1987) I began my career as a mobile telecommunications Account Executive.

As part of the package, along with a shiny brief-case that opened up – James Bond style - into a rather snazzy presenter that aided the complex explanation of a seven cell repeat pattern, followed by the “FAB’s” of mobile communications (that’s features advantages and benefits, for those of you that didn’t attend the rather corny 1980’s school of selling, delivered by an ex-double glazing salesman sporting a pale grey suite and pink socks) and the keys to a Ford Mondeo complete with a hanger in the back for my new, big shouldered Moss Bros suite jacket and screwed unceremoniously to the dashboard was my mobile phone! I’d arrived!

But it got better, much better! When I wasn’t in the car driving in the ‘fast lane’ of the M4 to Newbury (actually it was the middle lane, so that people passing me in the outside lane could see that I was on the phone) I could ‘do lunch’ and in the evenings I would frequent a highly popular wine-bar in Guildford, where I could rub shoulders with other shoulder padded jacket wearing, slick backed haired “dealers”. Only I went one better. I would park the Mondeo somewhere obvious, remove the handset of my car phone from its utilitarian (Russian tank utilitarian) clamp and go to the boot where I would unscrew, unclip, disconnect, slide, pull and twist a metal box from another utilitarian clamp, connect this to the handset that I had removed earlier and then attach a leatherette carry strap – I was now in “portable mode”! When this piece of hi-tech, high fashion was on the bar next to me I was truly a woman magnet and all the guys wanted one too. It’s amazing now that if you even appear to have the slightest bulge in your pocket for a mobile phone then you’re just not with it.

It was at the recent launch of the Catlin Arctic Survey, to which I am proud to say I am an Honorary Advisor, that made me recall those heady Sauvignon Blanc fuelled days of the very early mobile phones and how much we now take for granted without a thought for the technology that we carry around in our pockets. In a piece of equipment that is smaller than a pack of JPS (John Player Specials) I can call anyone, anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world, e-mail from multiple e-mail addresses, edit documents, watch TV and video, have video conferencing with my team, check my location using GPS, take photographs and send them to people anywhere in the world and book a table at The Ivy!

Immage Copyright Martin Hartley

So, with all this technology at our finger-tips, it becomes really hard for the Arctic Technical Team to impress when they tell us that they will be streaming millions of readings from the North Pole, sending live video from one of the remotest places on Earth and updating progress on a website from the floating sea ice at minus fifty degrees. The task to impress becomes even greater, when we find out that the equipment necessary to achieve this will weigh more than 10 stone and need to be dragged behind one of the Arctic Team on a seven foot sledge! But as an engineer dating from the early days of wireless technology, I can tell you that what the Arctic Technical team have accomplished is a brilliant piece of engineering genius, enabling them to collect and transmit groundbreaking information that will change our thinking on global warming.

My advice is, tune in.

The Ice Team will be setting off on the Arctic Survey in February 2009. You can find their latest Newsletter on the EcoSearch Facebook Page.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Will the Credit Crunch positively affect demands on Supply Chain in the Wind Energy sector?

Frost and Sullivan have just released a survey entitled Strategic Assessment of the European Wind Energy Market: Value Chain Analysis which provides an interesting insight into the various supply issues that have been facing the Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) manufacturing industry in the past three or four years, and the implications of the current global financial crisis.

The demand for crucial components such as gear-boxes, bearings etc have been so heavily in demand that many WTG manufacturers have been fighting for their right to secure an ongoing supply. In turn, wind farm owners and developers have been competing aggressively to procure Wind Turbines, and in many cases have been faced with expensive long-term framework agreements, and with a six month (or even one year) lead time. The wind energy industry has been experiencing a double-digit growth rate that the supply chain could simply not keep up with. Six months ago, that trend was set to continue for at least another couple of years.

However, the economic down trend, according to Frost and Sullivan, could curiously affect the supply chain challenge. Nervous about the financial climate, some of the major players in the industry have reduced their aggressive development targets. This, in turn, should lead to a supply and demand equilibrium, which will open up the market and ultimately make Wind Turbine’s more available and accessible on the market. Dramatic falls in the cost of raw materials such as steel and copper, and a reduction in prices for construction services, will see increased competition between WTG suppliers again.

So ultimately this slow down (whilst not forgetting that global government incentives have not shifted despite economic challenges) may just strengthen the wind energy industry, allowing it some respite from dramatically increasing costs and re-vitalising competition between the key players. Read more in this Frost and Sullivan press release.

By Clare Buxton
Wind Energy Sector Lead

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Do you still need Headhunters in an economic down turn?

If we at EcoSearch compare our specialist headhunt service to that of standard database recruiters on any given day, the pool of available candidates might look something like this:

The headhunt side on the left is populated with all those people currently working in the renewable energy field that would be relevant to your vacancy. These are the people we would contact about filling your vacancy first.

The database recruiter area on the right shows the active candidates that are relevant to your job at any given time. These represent those that a standard database recruiter would contact.

It might be easier to attract those active candidates, but the picture changes dramatically when the economy takes a turn for the worse:

As you can see, there has been a massive influx of applications to your job from outside of the Renewable Energy industry. Not everyone will be relevant, or even have any transferable skills that might benefit your business.

The database recruiter now has a lot more ground to cover as they sort the relevant applications from those without the skills you require.

For the headhunters, business in the largely unaffected Renewable Energy sector remains the same. It is business as usual.

So when other industries start experiencing job cuts, it is important to know that your recruitment process will not be slowed. It is vital that you can rely on the service you expect from your talent acquisition partners.

What's your view?

Friday, 7 November 2008

What a week in wind!

Clare Buxton gives her thoughts after a busy week...

Image by

It has been a hectic week in the Wind Energy sector this week. I am quite exhausted just from hearing about it…

Most of the news is positive, and highlights the buoyancy of this sector at present. The general atmosphere and tone of everyone I am speaking to is that there is much more still to come. This is an industry still in its infancy, where R&D has a lot more to offer in terms of minimising costs of wind energy production and maximising efficiency, the manufacturing process will be able to cut down lead times dramatically with the right processes and resources in gear (excuse the pun) and the consenting and planning process will (must) improve.

In a week which saw the United States embrace change wholeheartedly, and Obama announced his ambitious new “green” targets, the future looks positive, the future looks “green”!

Here are just a few of the headlines from this week:

Bad news for our British colleagues in BP Alternative Energy, it seems. The multinational oil company has announced they are withdrawing from Wind power in the UK, as the USA becomes a more attractive and profitable proposition for them. They are also withdrawing from the competition to set up a carbon capture and storage plant in the UK. Read more here...

E.ON completed installation of its first offshore wind turbine (Vestas V90) at Robin Rigg offshore wind farm in the Solway Firth. The first step on a long journey! Read more here...

With Shanghai Wind Power conference only just drawn to an end, China continues to move into the lime light – putting in an order with Vestas for 116 V52-850 kW turbines. Vestas was the first turbine manufacturer into China, and continues to grow its presence rapidly. When will the home-ground companies start to challenge seriously? Read more here...

Vestas (again, sorry – come on everybody else!) have announced record third-quarter revenue of 1,759 million Euro against 1,150 million Euros in the third quarter of 2007. They are now estimating annual revenue of 7.2 billion Euros! Read more here...

PowerWind GmbH has signed a contact for 36 MW in Italy. The contract will provide 40 PowerWind 56 wind energy converters to be installed at different sites in the region of Apulia, which is one of the windiest regions in Italy. The installation should be completed in 2010! Read more here...

I could go on…

If you think I’ve missed anything else, let us know. I can be contacted via email or simply leave your comment below.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The credit crunch… where is it impacting?

Debby Lloyd, MD at EcoSearch gives her thoughts on the credit crunch and where it is impacting investment, Cleantech and Renewables as well as recruitment.

Image by Tatjana Krstic

Has the appetite changed?
Well – no … except the deal landscape has – deals in the “investor in- trays are now being super scrutinized” – IRR/NPV/WACC etc are all being looked at in detail. To coin a phrase from one investor this week:

“2 months ago it was 20% business plan and 80% vision – now its 80% business plan and 20% vision”

Debt funded projects – well there is evidence that these are being reviewed and are being impacted, there are suggestions that, for example in the wind turbine space, lead times have come down – is this indicative of projects being shelved or put on ice temporarily? – It could well be.

What’s the recruiting landscape like?
This is usually a really good measure of things to come. EcoSearch has seen casualties amongst the recruitment organisations (the recent demise of Ellis Fairbank for example). Has EcoSearch seen a downturn and cancellation in headcount? None whatsoever (touch wood, long may this continue) compared with mainstream business (ie. non Cleantech and renewables). We checked with our international network and it’s looking pretty dire in some places. Mainstream construction is being seriously hit. Asia is experiencing general nervousness and some headcount freezing, a backing down on general construction. Dubai is also seeing general nervousness. UK & Europe – FMCG hit, Financial Services hit.

What are the challenges for today’s Cleantech employers?
Those competing for talent in the global pool (as opposed to just UK National pool) could face an uphill struggle. As we seek to relocate people from overseas the current housing market in the UK is a huge factor in the decision making process (arguably now is the best time to buy – it can only go up from here surely?).
Many talented candidates are in a situation where they would rather “stick” than “twist” on a career move until the markets settle down a little – the general nervousness is causing people to think hard before jumping.
Start-ups competing for talent (and some to a certain extent further funding!) need to make sure they pitch themselves really well – the safe houses, i.e. well funded utilities and infrastructure based organisations are holding out strong in the current market; the risk versus return situation needs careful managing.

If you have any thoughts on these points, whatever your perspective, feel free to discuss in the comments.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Without once mentioning the word “poo”!

Everyone at EcoSearch would like to extend a big thank you to our first guest blogger. An Energy Consultant placed by Steven Rogers earlier this year gives her thoughts on getting into the industry.


When considering a change of job, it is definitely worth having a chat with someone about what you consider to be your transferrable skills. Those of us that are “Green Collar Workers” (whoever came up with that phrase has a fantastic sense of humour!) are in the enviable position of being in a minority – i.e. there is a gap in the market for professionals who have a number of years experience in the energy industry. We can therefore have a long hard think about what we’d like from a job, and if our current job is not fulfilling that, what skills do we have that will facilitate a move in the direction we want to be heading. We certainly don’t have to sit within the same area of the energy industry, just because that is where we have our core practical skills.

For example, I had been working as an energy analyst for eight years, I’d been given the opportunity to stretch my wings as much as the job had allowed, however I didn’t feel that things were moving at a pace that was right for me, or in a direction that I really wanted to be headed.

I had spent the majority of my eight years behind a desk, running reports & answering queries to do with site energy consumption. I am now rarely in the office – in fact, it’s a strange week if I’m behind my desk for more than a couple of days! I’m clambering up on roofs, all round plant rooms, talking to all sorts of different people at all sorts of levels within different organisations. My week is divided between high level meetings with financial & facilities managers and driving all over the place in my jeans, polo shirt & tool belt. It’s not something I’d have thought I’d be doing this time last year, that’s for sure!

Going back to the subject of transferrable skills, mine were being a bit of a spreadsheet whizz, being articulate (something to do with being able to explain how electricity is generated from sewage, without once mentioning the word “poo”!), and having an enthusiasm for the subject of energy consumption that possibly borders on the nerdy. None of the transferrable skills I’ve mentioned above are what one would consider to be “taught” skills; however, I’m also lucky as part of my degree was energy studies.

So, what is the point of this rambling blog (bear with me, it’s the only one I’ve ever written!)?

Think not just about your roles & responsibilities when you are putting a CV together, think about finding a way of highlighting your transferrable skills.

A new Monster is coming...

Monster is launching its all new site on 10th January 2009. Debby Lloyd and I have been invited to a launch breakfast in London on December 1st 2008.

As the one of the initial players in the online recruitment game, it is ok for them to change the rules.

But what exactly are they planning to make online job hunting a better experience? A more personalised and customised service for job seekers is the main focus.

I am excited to find out exactly what this will mean for EcoSearch and for those seeking Green Jobs.

Look out for more news on the new Monster as soon as we get it.

Katharine Robinson,
Research Associate

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Green your Halloween

Katharine Robinson considers a night in telling ghost stories a great way to be green.

Image by Eti Swiford

Inspired when I came across, I thought you would like a few ideas on how to make this pester-power heavy day into something a little less destructive to the planet.

Imagine... a small group of friends gather for a Halloween party. There are no lights on, the TV and radio lay abandoned for the night. The room is lit only by a solitary jack-o-lantern, carved lovingly from a home-grown pumpkin the day before.

The group sit in a circle; perhaps a little local cider is on offer to warm them through...They begin to tell ghost stories.

You can’t get an evening much greener than that!

Here’s the usual list of tips to help you make Halloween that little bit greener:

  • Source your pumpkin locally, or consider growing your own next year.

  • Give out sweets to trick-or-treaters bought locally or home made from local ingredients.

  • Consider costume swapping with friends, especially good for children that may have grown out of last year’s costume.

  • If you can’t costume swap, try not to buy something new, but consider trawling charity shops for that illusive bowler hat or old bed sheet to cut two holes in

  • When buying candles, make sure they are the eco-friendly variety, soy wax is a good alternative to the usual paraffin products

  • If you decide to illuminate your face with a torch while telling ghost stories (a method popular in movies, especially when our cast are sat in a dark tree-house), use re-chargeable batteries to reduce your waste

Any other suggestions for a green Halloween, please leave them below in the comments...

Friday, 24 October 2008

Product Engineering in Renewables and CleanTech

This week Debby Lloyd has been immersed in engineering and product development in the renewables industry. Here are some of her thoughts...


There are some organisations globally renowned for their engineering R&D capabilities – some already have provenance in areas of "cleantech" as it’s moved into mainstream product development. Selected organisations have been involved in some of the most technically challenging high profile projects in the world with leading manufacturing organisations.

I recently spent a whole day at one such organisation at a new R&D engineering facility specifically built for the Cleantech sector. Imagine the scenario of being able to take your pick from more than a 1,000 engineers around the world with deep engineering expertise across all disciplines (structural, mechanical, electronics, controls, manufacturing etc) - marshalling and deploying them into the engineering challenges and opportunities presented by the renewable energy sectors.

When I look at who is providing similar services in terms of engineering consultancy for renewable energy product development I fear some will always be constrained in their development and offerings by their capitalisation and size. I also think there’s a tendency to be very "one dimensional" in their thinking. There are organisations in existence that are well versed to working and collaborating with leading OEMs across "same industry" sectors. As a result they emerge as real "centres of excellence" and become the industry "go to". This can be replicated for renewables – especially wind and tidal. So it’s encouraging to see renowned engineering organisations move into renewables and bring with them their alternative working practices that could benefit Wind Turbine Manufacturers and the wider cleantech community. The difficulty is they need credible renewables individuals to lead them into this space who are, of course, in short supply – and where we come in!

Some of these organisations have the capabilities to go far deeper into practical product development, testing and onwards to manufacturing issues rather than traditional "paper focused" consulting firms.

My personal perception (and feel free to challenge me on this) of R&D in the renewable energy sector is that it sometimes appears very "insular" and there is real reluctance to "go outside" for deeper expertise and alternative thinking which can reside in for example Aerospace, Defence & Automotive sectors. The need to protect IP is another reason. All these issues are born in part from the necessity of having grown from grass roots beginnings where self sufficiency is key for a variety of reasons – cost being a big one.

However maybe now is the time for different thinking – and options. There are engineering organisations steeped in dealing with such issues that can pull on years of engineering history and OEM collaboration from other vertical market sectors. These organisations bring new perspectives and techniques to the renewables sector that can really drive product innovation forward.

We’re working with some of them, its very exciting to watch what they can bring to the party.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

British Wind Energy has never been stronger!

This week Clare Buxton was in London at BWEA30, see her thoughts following the event.

This week, whilst the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) are celebrating their biggest ever conference and exhibition (over 2500 registered as a delegate or exhibitor and over 200 companies exhibiting), Gordon Brown announced on Tuesday morning that the UK has now overtaken Denmark as the largest producer of offshore wind energy in the world.

The Prime Minster addressed the BWEA conference via a video message and congratulated all involved in the industry for hitting the 3 GW mark. 600MW of that installed capacity is offshore. In 2005 the UK had only 1 GW of installed wind capacity.

Denmark has been commonly recognised as the European, and probably World, leader in the Wind Industry, but the UK has just proved that by MW installed we are now at the front of this sector.

The company responsible for pushing the UK capacity over the 3GW mark was Scottish Power Renewables with the Whitelee windfarm, where its 140 turbines will produce 322MW of energy, or enough power to 180,000 homes.

Centrica was another one of the companies present at the BWEA conference who were celebrating: they have just gained consent for their 250 MW Lincs offshore wind farm project. Centrica already own and operate Lynn and Inner Dowsing (194MW).

All in all October 2008 has been an important month for Wind Energy in the UK… Let us know if you’ve heard any other exciting news or have any comments about the sector!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Energy Saving Week – Greener Shopping

Shopping hides all manner of CO2 emitting sins. As a girl who loves shopping, Katharine Robinson is always looking for ways to make her favourite pass time a little greener. All this week she has been looking at various ways to reduce your CO2 emissions as part of a series for The Energy Saving Trust’s Energy Saving Week, running from October 20th – 26th.


Everything we buy has to get from raw material to our doors one way or another. Whether it’s bananas coming from the West Indies, a turkey coming from a farm in Norfolk, or your t-shirt that was made in Bangladesh, green house gases are probably emitted somewhere along the line.

It’s not just transporting the turkey either. It’s the food it has eaten, the miles driven by the farmer in maintaining his farm and the power used to light barns and run slaughter houses too. At every stage of production, our food and all other consumer goods use up more energy.

How can we reduce our carbon shopping print?


Farm Shops and Farmers Markets are great places to find locally produced food. Finding locally produced food in your area isn’t all that hard, Big Barn lets you look at local producers in your area from Farmers’ Markets and Pick-Your-Own to Restaurants and Bakeries.

There are some clothes manufacturers based in Britain, a quick search on the internet soon turned up Frank & Faith, a Dorset based, socially conscious clothing label launched in 2006. So if you are determined to make your fashion as guilt-free as you can, it is possible.


Looking for food that is in season now will help you not only stay local but also ensure that you are not eating fruit and vegetables that have been kept in an energy-guzzling cold store for months. There is also the option of growing our own too of course.

For example, main crop potatoes, apples, most traditional game birds and sea bass are all in season right now.

Photo by Maigi

Seasonal food can also be cheaper as we do not have to pay a premium due to scarcity or for the higher transportation cost of bringing the food from abroad.

Seasonal food is also fresher and so tastes better and is better for us.

Second Hand:

This option doesn’t really work for food! Clothes, Consumer electronics and just about everything else we bring into our homes can be found pre-owned somewhere.

Charity shops are a great way of reducing waste and green house gas emissions as well as helping a good cause at the same time.

eBay can be great for making yourself a little extra cash and also picking up something you want, like a CD or a book for a fraction of the price and saving the carbon-heavy production of a new one. I would recommend caution though and always check the feedback a seller has received before purchasing. It’s also worth checking how far an item will have to travel to get to you. eBay offers you the option to search for items locally, use this and you might be able to get on your bike and collect your new purchase.

Second hand shops still exist in most towns, especially for the likes of computer or video games and consoles. Check out this second hand shop directory for more ideas than you thought possible.

Online Shopping:

If you prefer to get everything from one place, all the big supermarkets offer a shop online service. If you can manage to get your head around one large weekly shop and order it online, you could save yourself time, money and green house gas emissions.

Online shopping means your goods get to you, and several other households, from the shop in just one van. If you can get everything at once it will also save you lots of little trips. Most retailers also offer schemes that cut down on plastic bag waste, either by delivering your shopping without bags or taking away your old ones to be recycled.


Perhaps consider making this Christmas a green Christmas? I plan to make all my gifts eco-friendly in some way. Perhaps I could blog about it and let you know how it goes...

If you have any other Green shopping advice that you can add to this post, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Energy Saving Week – Greener Driving

Today Katharine Robinson aims to give you some EcoDriving tips to save fuel, money and needless CO2 emissions. This post is part of a series for The Energy Saving Trust’s Energy Saving Week, running from October 20th – 26th.


Many employees commute to work. The days when everyone worked within walking distance from their home have been gone for a long time.


The talent shortage plaguing the Renewable Energy industry often means that talent has to be tempted from far and wide. This may mean colleagues at your company commute a long way to the office or the projects they are working on. This can prove very costly, in terms of money and emissions.

We heard a couple of weeks ago that the driving test is to include a nod to green concerns. At this stage, instructors will only be offering feedback on how green the new motorist’s driving technique is. This news coincides with an announcement from the DfT that they will be putting an extra £3m into promoting greener driving techniques. According to statistics from the DfT, a month or more of fuel can be saved each year by following the techniques outlined in its Act On CO2 campaign.

I have been out looking for precise tips that you can easily follow, this is what I have found;

  1. Clear all the junk out of your car! Hauling extra weight around is using up more fuel. When you get home tonight, empty out the boot before you even go inside. Start saving immediately before even changing any driving habits.

  2. Decrease drag
    a. Take the roof rack off – the drag it (and anything tied to it) creates is epic. Only put on a roof rack when you are using it or, even better, don’t use it at all.
    b. Wind up the windows. Do you really need to be gangsta-leaning down the road? It’s a lot greener and more professional to arrive with your hair-do intact.

  3. Pump up your tyres. I always wondered why my granddad uses less fuel than me. It turns out that he gives his motor a weekly service. This involves checking his tyre pressures. The engine has to work a lot harder to propel you along the road if your tyres are a little squiffy – so get out your manual, check what is optimum and get the foot pump out. It’s good exercise too!

  4. No Electrical Gadgets! Are you always bombing along with the air-con fighting the open window, your ipod or phone charging in the cigarette lighter socket and the in-car sat-nav telling you to turn left even though you know exactly where you are going? Stop it! Turn it all off. Only use the sat-nav if you get lost (saving you miles of fuel), get a little solar charger for your ipod and wind up the window. You will be pleased to know that the power used by the radio is negligible and therefore has no real effect on the engine performance.
Now onto some tips that require a little thought when you are behind the wheel.

  1. Keep your revs low. Changing gear a little earlier ensures that your revs and fuel consumption stay low and you don’t guzzle fuel. The AA’s Drive Smart advice recommends that you change up at approx 2500 rpm in a petrol car and 2000 rpm in a diesel. My little Renault Clio is perfectly happy to make changes even earlier than this. It reduces engine ware too.

  2. Stick to the speed limit! This is good advice anyway – you can save money in speeding tickets too. The faster you drive the thirstier your car is for fuel. 70mph uses 9% more fuel than 60mph and as much as 15% more than 50mph.

  3. Keep moving. It will probably mean slowing down sooner, but the stopped traffic will have started moving again before you get there. The more you start and stop the more fuel you use, so try to keep creeping along.

  4. Leave the car in gear. When you coast modern cars still use fuel to prevent stalling. So stay in gear with your foot off the accelerator and get metres for free!

  5. Plan your journey. Got several chores to do? Try not to go out more than once but plan your journey to have the shortest route. Not only will you save time but you will use less fuel and save your car from unnecessary wear and tear.

You may recall a very entertaining Top-Gear challenge from a few years ago. It seems Jeremy discovered a number of the same tips when he drove from London to Edinburgh and back again on just one tank of fuel! If you have not seen it, I managed to track it down on Youtube.

I hope that you have managed to take something away from these tips and that you will now go a little further for your £1.

If you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Energy Saving Week – Saving energy around the office & home

Today Katharine Robinson aims to give you some Energy Saving tips to reduce energy usage, save money and needless CO2 emissions. This post is part of a series for The Energy Saving Trust’s Energy Saving Week, running from October 20th – 26th.


It’s very easy to be complacent about using Energy, especially in the office where those using the energy are not the ones paying for it.

Today I have been looking for things that we can all try either at home or in the office to cut our CO2 emissions.

Image by Christopher Hall

At home:

  1. When was the last time you defrosted the freezer? If you can’t remember then Energy Saving Week is just the reminder you need. Defrosting our fridges and freezers keeps them working at peak efficiency.

  2. Next time you go to switch on the light and the bulb goes, replace it with an energy saving one. An energy saving light bulb lasts 10 times as long as a regular one and uses just 20% of the energy. Get some when you go shopping this week so next time you are prepared.

  3. Whether you are washing clothes or dishes, make sure you have a full load. This will cut down on the number of times your machine runs a cycle, extending its life and cutting your energy usage.

  4. Dry your washing outside on the line instead of using a tumble dryer. This gets more difficult as winter draws in, so get some dryer balls to cut down on the length of time clothes need to be in the dryer.

  5. Consider switching to a green energy tariff. If this is too expensive an option, most utility providers will offer you a paperless or online service. You get your bills and do your metre readings via the internet, saving on paper and the travel cost of a metre reader visiting your home. This can sometimes be a cheaper option too.

In the office:

  1. When leaving the office, make sure you have not only fully shut down your computer but that monitors and printers are switched off too. This can be easy to forget, but quickly adds up to big savings.

  2. Keep an eye on the lighting in the office. If everyone in a particular department is in a meeting today – do they need their desk area lit up? Could blinds be opened to make the most of natural light?

At home and in the office:

  1. Turn down your thermostat by just one degree. This is hardly noticeable in temperature and could save up to 10% on heating bills. Even better – wear a big fluffy jumper!

  2. Boiling Water! When making hot drinks, only boil the water you need. When cooking, if you can boil water in the kettle first, then transfers it to the pan, this will save energy. The heat transfer in a kettle is more efficient as the element is in direct contact with the water.

  3. When charging mobile devices like phones, PDAs and portable games consoles, make sure you don’t leave the charges plugged in and switched on 24/7. Most will keep using energy even when your device if fully charged. If you need reminding, set an alarm on your phone when you plug it in

Tune in the rest of this week as I will be offering some green driving and green shopping tips as well.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Say "Hi!" if you see us at BWEA30

Clare Buxton, EcoSearch’s Lead in the Wind Energy sector, gives her thoughts on attending the BWEA30 conference and exhibition next week.


Next week is the British Wind Energy Association’s conference and exhibition, celebrating 30th years of success. BWEA30 will take place at the ExCel centre, in London’s Docklands. The main sponsor is RES, and they are expecting to have 175 exhibitors and over 2000 people to attend. Debby Lloyd, Mark Sawyer and I are all very excited to be attending again this year.

Highlights for us will be catching up with old friends who we’ve been in contact with over the last year but not had the occasion to meet with, meeting new people and witnessing firsthand the continuing growth of this sector. As we found at All-Energy ’08, we are sure that BWEA30 will be even bigger than BWEA29 was in Glasgow last year.

Another highlight will be, of course, meeting Boris Johnson at the Conference Eve Reception at the Institute of Civil Engineers (contact Alice at BWEA to reserve your place) and hearing what he has to say; and also hearing the PM’s address to delegates and exhibitors on the opening day. It is only relevant that the leadership of the UK recognise what an exciting event this is, for all involved.

All in all, I’m really looking forward to it. BWEA30 will be a celebration of the success of the Wind Energy industry in the UK, and I am sure we’ll also see some of our European friends.

If you’re interested in meeting with me, Debby or Mark at the conference – please don’t hesitate to contact us!

See you there!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Top tips for creating a brilliant CV

John Lawton, Director at Ezek - one of our partner organizations, has produced the first part in his “How to create a brilliant CV” article. Here is a flavour of what he has to say.


Some advice for anyone thinking of re-vamping that old CV – a few things to consider first...

  1. Don’t re-vamp an old CV! Start from scratch and really think about who you are and what you want. The process you go through in creating the CV is perhaps more important than the document itself. There are questions about yourself that you need to know the answer to before attending any interviews. The creation of a new CV is the ideal time to do this.
  2. Have a clear identity! Only include the information that is relevant to what you want to do next. You don’t have to appeal to a wide audience, just the employer you want to work for. If you think you have more than one identity, have more than one CV. Send it to people that will be interested! It can be very frustrating for employers to receive many irrelevant CVs.
  3. Give your achievements. Express what you have done in the past tense – then I am sure that you actually did it. Illustrate the benefits of what you did and quantify this if you can.
  4. John gives an amusing list of his top bad CV categories. If you find your CV falling into one of these, it may be worth speaking to a professional. Here are the ones from John’s list that we at EcoSearch see most often
    a. The ‘I followed a system on the web’ CV
    b. The ‘cut and paste job description’ CV
    c. The ‘let me tell you my life story’ CV

For more from John, you can subscribe to the Your Career articles at and receive all future instalments direct.

Monday, 13 October 2008

One Month of the EcoSearch ‘Dot Green’ Blog

It has been my pleasure to administer the EcoSearch Blog over the last month. The team here have shown real commitment to creating content. I look forward to doing this for a long time to come.

Our most popular topics so far have been:

· Clare Buxton’s week-long series on the talent shortage facing the wind energy sector
· Steven Rogers’ post on entering the renewable energy market
· Debby Lloyd’s thoughts on Carbon Forum UK
· EcoSearch’s guide to your green career

This is a picture of some of our team at All-Energy ’08.


All the major blog contributors are here, from left to right: Phillip Clement, Katharine Robinson, Debby Lloyd, Mark Sawyer, Clare Buxton and Steven Rogers.

Big EcoSearch news includes:

EcoSearch are honorary advisors to the Arctic Survey - there are still corporate sponsorship opportunities left!
Debby Lloyd spoke at Carbon Forum UK
We are already getting excited about All-Energy ’09 in May; we will be there on stand C4.
EcoSearch visited the Energy Solutions Expo in London
Lots of hot jobs available on the EcoSearch website

Katharine Robinson

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Arctic Survey Update

EcoSearch are Honorary Advisors to The Arctic Survey which will gain unprecedented global publicity in early 2009.

Data collected will be assembled for the UNFCCC.

Support includes HRH Prince of Wales & WWF. Since January of this year the core team has been focused on fundraising for Arctic Survey and the project is now officially on the starting blocks and limbering up for the ‘off’ in February.

Arctic Survey big
Image copyright Martin Hartley

Sponsorship Opportunities for corporate organisations are available below

Specialist Surveying Equipment - £40K
Explorers’ Expedition Equipment - £75K
Explorers’ Technical, Physical and Psychological Training - £15K
Pioneering Ice-Penetrating Radar - £130K
Global Public Engagement Website - £100K
Final Ice Trials - £40K
Explorers’ Drop-Off and Pick-Up Flights - £100K
Specialist Air-Drop Resupply Programme - £325K
Science Programme - £75K
Radar Data Processing and Analysis - £50K
Super-Computer Modelling Time - £100K
Scientific Findings Report - £30K
Global Policy Engagement - £100K
Mobile Phone Air Time - £25K (could be given in kind)

Arctic Survey Logo

For more information:

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Energy Solutions Expo!!

Steven Rogers gives his thoughts on Energy Solutions Expo, which starts tomorrow. He and Mark Sawyer will be there to see what is happening in the world of Energy on behalf of EcoSearch.


The renewable energy and energy efficiency market has a plethora of shows, exhibitions and conferences spread across the globe. One of the largest and most varied shows on the circuit is the Energy Solutions Expo based in London’s Olympia, which is where we will be tomorrow and Thursday.

Energy Expo is “the event where you can find out how to make your organisation efficient, sustainable and renewable.” The event is split into three industry sections:

1) M&E The building services
2) Total Workplace Management
3) Working Buildings

Our reason for attending is to keep the team as informed and up to date as possible with the technologies and industry advancements. Of particular interest to me are the engineering companies and the energy companies (e.g. E.ON Energy Services, Ener.G and ITI Energy). They are pushing the market forward and regularly have interesting and new offerings. From a personal stand point, I find the technology incredibly interesting in this sector so cannot help being drawn to all technology ‘things’ that are new and shiny so they are always top on my list!

You can let us know you are going by visiting the event on Facebook via the EcoSearch page.

Look forward to seeing you all there and feel free to stop me and say “hello!”.

Friday, 3 October 2008

An Online Job Search – What to look for in a ‘Good’ green job

Today Katharine Robinson will be looking at the online job boards and how to use them effectively to get to the next step in your green career.


I manage EcoSearch’s ‘digital footprint’. Simply put, I make sure we are there to be found on the web. Not only does that mean I manage this blog, but I also look after where we advertise the job opportunities we are working on.

The news for those seeking a new green job is good and I’m going to tell you why.

Setting the scene

The talent pool in the sector is so limited in the UK, EcoSearch’s home territory, that the number of applications to these job advertisements is small. Not only that, but a surprising number of those applying have irrelevant experience – I had a candidate not long ago apply to a job as a wind farm project developer, his only work experience to date was of trapping hedgehogs.

If you are looking for an EcoJob, you will find a plethora of opportunities out there for you – you won’t have to put more than a couple of key words into a search engine before you find somewhere you want to send your CV.

Be Picky – You can afford to have a good job hunting experience

Here are a few things to look for in a ‘good’ green job advertisement so that you get off to the best possible start;

· A name - of a real person that is working on that opportunity (try finding that person on the web, do they have a LinkedIn profile – are they credible?).
· An email address direct to that person – for you to send your CV to.
· A phone number - so you can call and speak to that person.
· Some information about the sort of company or team the job is with – this may be brief but it should be there.

If you can’t see those things, it’s not worth sending your CV. Your experiences and hard work will go off to populate a recruiter’s database so they can call you if their key-word search throws up your details. A lot of job advertisements try to keep the identity of the company that is hiring a bit of a secret until they know you are serious about the opportunity (so don’t worry if you don’t the company’s name) – but be wary if no information at all is offered. In the end, this is likely to be THE deciding factor as to whether or not you want the job.

To upload or not to upload?

In your green job hunt, you might stop by a number of websites that allow you to upload your CV to their database. This means that jobs can come and find you, taking some of the work out of your hunt.

This sounds great. Upload my CV and wait for the perfect job to come knocking on my door. This can be the case and sometimes is. I know that at EcoSearch we often search these databases for possible candidates and are often surprised by the quality and fit of some of those we find.

Unfortunately the best people often report being approached by multiple recruiters about vacancies that were not necessarily relevant. This can be frustrating if you went to the trouble of submitting a detailed CV. Especially if you are called about an opportunity that has nothing to do with the objectives you stated. It’s very easy to feel undervalued if you get called by an assortment of ‘white-socked’ recruiters looking for a quick hit.

My advice would be to cultivate an online presence that can be found – the easiest way to do this is by creating a profile on or another professional networking site. You can see mine by clicking on my name at the top of this page. This allows you to access your professional network online – a very useful tool for managing all your contact information. It also allows those seeking your skills to search and find you but not make the (often wrong) assumption that you are desperate to make a move – any move.

The next step on the ladder is out there for the taking, so go and find it!

To keep up with what EcoSearch is working on, follow me on Twitter: I tweet on EcoSearch and general Renewable Energy news as well as keeping up to date with the Web2.0 buzz.

Look out for my future posts; I’ll be looking at creating CVs and using LinkedIn to benefit your career. If you have any points to add about searching for a job online, feel free to contribute below in the comment section.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Word of mouth recruiting: Is it working?

Today, Mark Sawyer takes a look at ‘Word of mouth recruiting’. How does your company get to potential employees that have those hard-to-find skills, and is it working? We would love to hear your thoughts.


To me that comes under the banner of employee referral schemes! Many companies say they have a scheme and that it is highly thought of within their firm. They suggest that the financial rewards for doing so is more than generous. However, it is widely recognised within the head hunter community that these schemes are little more than a token gesture to tick the corporate box. In reality and in my experience of delivering recruitment process management (RPM), companies should be able to hire between 35-40% of their staff through existing employees networks, but only if created, managed and supported appropriately.

There are several advantages to employee referral schemes, the first being that new recruits are likely to settle in at the company quickly and stay for longer because they have an instant circle of acquaintances through the friend that suggested him or her. The association with a member of staff also means the new employee may already have some understanding of how the business operates, and he or she will be motivated not to put in a poor performance that will reflect badly on the friend that made the recommendation. From a company’s perspective I can see how they feel it is a cost effective route to market, especially in a tight market where talent is scarce like that of the Renewable Energy vertical. So why do companies struggle to hire more than 15% of new recruits through an employee referral programme?

1. Current employees are not aware of the scheme. It is in the employee handbook – but when was the last time you read your handbook?

2. They don’t see those in their sphere of influence acting on it. Good behaviour breeds better behaviour and poor behaviour breeds….well you know!

3. The reward is always weighted in favour of the company and is typically £250-400. Although I have seen some as high as £1000, but only after the employee has completed 12 months service. (a perceived slap in the face when recruiter fees are a minimum of £5k and at the more senior end £50k)

4. People are not buying into actually improving the company – they have apathy with the culture.

However, there are concerns that employee referral schemes can stifle fresh ideas and limit the influx of new blood to a business because existing employees tend to suggest candidates in their own image. I have also heard that this situation has also led to worries that a need for fairness and diversity may not be satisfied.

A final potential problem with using employees as a source of new staff is the hit and miss nature of the method. There is no guarantee that the right candidates will be suggested at the appropriate time. And for this reason, the role of the professional recruiter is still a valid one.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Carbon Forum UK

Last week Debby Lloyd spoke at Carbon Forum UK. Below is a ‘brain dump’ of her lasting impressions from the event.


A personal view – it’s always when you attend these events that the gravity of the situation hits you all over again.

In my own presentation I emphasised the complexity of the corporate situation where everyone used different words and phrases to tackle “carbon” and the huge range and scope of projects that are tackled. It’s not difficult but it is hugely complex because all of the subjects below touch on every aspect of our businesses today.

Some salient points made by some of the “thought leaders” present:-

The Corporate Leadership Group feel more ambitious Government targets to drive improvements should have been set – the current 8% level they felt was lacking in “bite”. I asked the question about visibility at “CFO” level on the upcoming CRC (Carbon Reduction Commitment). The general consensus was 8% reduction could easily be lost on the balance sheet of major corporates and therefore it wasn’t visible.

Concerns also about “adaptation” and how to take things “beyond carbon”
CDP6 was launched in the USA with 70% of the world’s largest financial companies responding this time.

A demand for increase in the amount of policy to drive positive investment, but they do not want punitive policy and there was concern over the amount of corporate red tape already in place.
Institutional investors are currently very concerned about the sustainability aspects of their investments and the impact on company value behind negative performance and publicity
Carbon Reduction Commitment launch – targeting the entities responsible for 10% of the total UK emissions landscape – provoked discussion around the “two tier” system that was clearly emerging.

On Energy Management EN16001 - the new European energy management standard, due to be launched mid 2009. BSi are piloting early movers next year. Regarding energy audit/surveys – the UK are taking a lead on developing the new European standards. The new international energy management standard ISO 500001 will supersede the European standard.

There are some interesting discussions happening in the US on “world population”.

Lots going on in the world of Smart Metering – if you can’t measure it you can’t improve it and there is a big problem with measurement.

Doubt as to whether oil demand (if it continues rising at its current rate) will not be met come 2011.

University of Liverpool are now offering an oil dependency Audit.

Some interesting “world legal” dynamics – seeing a transition in the UK from “deterrent environmental law” (i.e. standards and penalties for breach –v- “behavioural change law” e.g. CRC.

Some technology challenges, for example in Waste to Energy – overcoming the emerging technologies which transfer waste outside of the waste stream once processed. Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) – concerns as to the speed of evolution.

Education – University of East Anglia have the first Carbon Management MBA – it’s fully subscribed.

Skills – there are skills shortages but corporates are just not being flexible enough in an emerging and disparate skills marketplace and are holding out for the perfect experience and skills-set that simply doesn’t exist in volume. Environmental qualifications are all very well but without the commercial bottom line translation skills and cross functional project management ability there’s a real risk to progress. What of career progression and longevity too? It’s a bit like the millennium bug rush. Once it’s done - what next?

The Carbon Forum UK website will be officially launched in January 2009. For further information contact Jeremy Blow of Zeno Communications Ltd via

Feel free to give your thoughts on any of these points below in the comments section.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Entering the renewable energy market – transferring skills and experience into the industry

Today Steven Rogers will be looking at the industry verticals that may offer Renewable Energy companies the skill sets they seek.


Securing employment in the renewable energy market is hard to beat as a profession: engineers love the technology, investors receive fantastic returns from socially responsible investments, developers cannot get projects off the ground quickly enough and carbon, in its many guises, is set to be the most traded commodity in the city.

The industry is also being driven forcefully forward by a number of mechanisms from government push to consumer pull, stakeholder demands and competitive pressure. Our government has layers of legislation in place to force and reward the expansion of this industry e.g. the Carbon Reduction Commitment (
Carbon Trust) and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). 60% of end consumers state that they are more likely to buy a product or a service with a low carbon footprint. There is pressure from company stakeholders for companies to disclose their financial risk to climate change and up to 40% of CEOs perceive global warming to be a threat to business growth (Financial Express).

This style boom ( is our pet name for it) has a number of upshots. The one I will focus on here is the human capital challenge – how do we increase the size of our teams quickly enough to meet this growth from such a limited talent pool?

There is further good news for our industry - there are more than enough people raising their hands to join these companies! We do have a problem though… Many of the people are highly skilled and highly experienced, but their expertise lies in other industries. This brings me to what I hold to be the answer - transferable skills.

Engineering in the renewable energy industry is a good example of my point. Many engineering companies I speak with would like to hire systems design engineers with x years experience in designing integrated, on-grid, renewable energy systems. These people do exist, but they are rare, typically happy where they are and well tied into their current employer. There is often little reason for them to move.

How then, do you grow your design team?

Do you hire untested personnel and train in-house? Can you get post-graduates in to help with a project which, in turn, assists them with their thesis? Ultimately, do you let the problem become a bottle-neck for your business’ growth?

No, you capitalise of the wealth of experienced people wanting to get into the industry but to whom the door is currently closed. But, which industries provide transferable skills?

From my experience working with electrical design engineers in the building services environment, their skills can be easily advanced to incorporate micro-renewable energy technologies, plus the time needed to do so is minimal. Let’s benefit from this volume of experience, provide training on specific products and grow our businesses.

A second industry example is the automotive industry. I recently recruited an individual straight of out a car manufacturer. There he was a lead mechanical design engineer working with CAD. A department focusing on renewable energy now has him joining their design team, with the aim of promoting him quickly to lead a design team.

There are other industries too - what options do engineers in the aerospace industry offer? We also have our well established ‘big brother’, Oil and Gas, where can we benefit from their experience?

I believe that we must seriously consider the option of recruiting from parallel industries because of the required growth speed within our industry. I think this can be achieved through two main avenues; firstly companies need to be more open minded about transferable skills into the industry and secondly individuals wanting to charge industry verticals also need to demonstrate their commitment to do so. This could be demonstrated through further education or becoming involved with technologies on a local level. Courses that we have success stories from include the Centre of Alternative Technology (
CAT) and Loughborough (Loughborough) but there are many more superb courses available.

Stating that you are a keen recycler is not enough!

In my next blog post I will look more specifically at how a change of industry can be accomplished and how to identify transferable skills.

Don’t forget to subscribe by RSS so you never miss an EcoPost.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Day 5: “A Working Week to Solve the Wind Energy Talent Shortage”

This week Clare Buxton has been looking at how to manage the talent shortage in the Wind Energy sector, whether you’re hiring or looking to be hired. Sadly, we’ve come to the end of this series, so here’s a quick summary of the points we’ve covered.

In Summary: Problem Solved?

Well, probably not quite solved, but certainly identified. And we’ve made a few suggestions along the way as to how to overcome the talent shortage, if you’re an employer, and make the most of your skills, if you’re an industry professional.

There’s a wealth of opportunity out there, and currently more growth than the current talent pool can deal with. It’s a great time to be in the industry if you’re already established, but also if you’re up and coming. New projects and new development exercises will make room for new players, onshore, offshore, residential and merchant based. Not a week goes by when we don’t here about new wind projects being granted consents and permission, and further investment going into the sector. Just last week we read this article talking about massive investment and cooperation between E.ON and Siemens.

We’re not the only ones who have recently commented on this challenge. Michael Liebreich, the chairman and chief executive of New Energy Finance was recently quoted in Renewable Energy World (May-June 2008), saying “There is strong momentum behind the growth of clean energy worldwide, with new investment up nearly fivefold between 2004 and 2007, but this is creating shortages not just of components such as silicon and transport infrastructure, but also of human capital.”

I hope these thoughts have given you something to think about as we all try to move forward and tackle the talent shortage in the wind energy sector. Perhaps the ideas and suggestions we’ve made will give you at least one new thing to try to help you deal with the situation. So, let the wind in to your sails, and let’s make some energy!

Follow Clare on twitter so that you always know what’s blowing in the wind energy space:

We would love to hear your thoughts on this series so please feel free to leave comments.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Day 4: “A Working Week to Solve the Wind Energy Talent Shortage”

This week Clare Buxton is looking at how to manage the talent shortage in the Wind Energy sector, whether you’re hiring or looking to be hired. Today, we take a look from an individual’s perspective. How do you use the talent shortage to your advantage?


What professionals working in the space can do

The burning question, another one that EcoSearch hears frequently, is:

“How do I make the most of my rare skills in the Wind Industry?”

This isn’t quite so hard to answer, and guess what? Here are a few suggestions:

If you’re a professional in this space and you’re looking to forward your career, there are, without any doubt, multiple opportunities and many possible avenues:
  • Companies need to be smart and look after you to keep your loyalty; but equally every member of the team is an important aspect in creating and managing a good working culture and thriving business.
  • Review your goals regularly, and if you’re concerned about the direction your career is taking you, take the time to sit down with your manager and work out the best career path for you. If the company you’re with can’t offer it to you, take a look at the wider industry space – there’s a lot going on out there!
  • Work with a recruiter or head hunter (well I would say that wouldn’t I?!) because they will be able to get you access to companies which fit your requirements and career plans. If they’re any good, they’ll spend time getting to know you and be able to introduce you confidentially to the companies you are most interested in, without having to stick your CV highly visibly on a job-board.
  • In my experience, the wind industry is incredibly incestuous, so it’s good to have a third party representation that can help you navigate the market place. That’s what we’re here for, after all!

To stay up to date with what projects EcoSearch is working on, follow Katharine Robinson on Twitter: She sends out updates on Renewable Energy News, Web 2.0 and EcoSearch News.

Tune in tomorrow for the last post in our series “A Working Week to Solve the Wind Energy Talent Shortage”.

Don’t forget to subscribe by RSS to never miss an update.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Day 3: “A Working Week to Solve the Wind Energy Talent Shortage”

This week Clare Buxton is looking at how to manage the talent shortage in the Wind Energy sector, whether you’re hiring or looking to be hired. We’ve established what and why, but how do we proactively manage it?


What companies can do

The burning question, another one that EcoSearch hears frequently, is:

“How do we overcome the talent shortage?”

I wish I had an easy answer. Here are a few suggestions:

If you represent a company and want to build your team:

  • Draw on international experience – in the UK we often suffer from an island mentality, but there is life out there… We need to be attracting talent from Europe, the USA and Asia to come and work with us in the UK. If you’re in Europe, think cross-border. This is a global market.
  • Work hard at building an attractive and welcoming work culture to position yourself favourably against your competitors. Gen X and Gen Y are sucked in by a “fun place to work” and “a good culture fit” – it is fundamental to attracting and retaining the best talent out there.
  • Work on building good training programmes. It’s easy to want to “skip over” the training piece, but if you have an expertise centre with a career track to train and improve your staff, it will become easier to hire individuals who aren’t already the finished article, but who could become that expert you are looking for in 6 months or 1 year.
  • Work with a recruitment professional who understands the industry, and can help to promote your brand, as well as scope the talent pool confidentially. (That’s where we come in…)

Tune in tomorrow to find suggestions for industry professionals looking to get hired that will help you get to the next rung on the EcoLadder.

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