Scotland-based, Renewable Parts is a leading supply chain partner to the wind industry in the UK and Europe. The company was founded by Ewan Anderson in 2011 with the goal of being an innovator in green technology for the wind industry, whilst creating a reliable supply chain for renewable energy owners and operators.
We sat down with Matthew Chapman, Marketing Manager, Renewable Parts, to discuss the company's work and its future plans as the green energy sector in Scotland continues on its growth trajectory.
The renewable energy sector is very valuable to Scotland, how do you see your role within this continuously expanding industry?
Renewable energy is an important part of the energy mix in Scotland, with wind energy now generating half of the energy required to power the country. A massive increase on where we were 10 years ago.
We see Renewable Parts playing a leading role as the sector continues to expand and as Scotland works towards decarbonising its entire energy system by 2050. A reliable and sustainable supply chain will be crucial to ensure clean, green energy can continue to be generated for Scotland.
What are the key benefits of using refurbished parts for your customers and how do you get this message to the decision makers?
Scotland is already producing the equivalent of 90% of its electricity from renewable sources. But we still have a lot more to do. We need to reduce the carbon that the manufacturing and shipping of new wind energy components creates by using refurbished parts and creating a circular economy ethos within the industry.
So far, through our approach, we have helped our customers collectively reduce their carbon footprints by 130 tonnes and have diverted more than 70 tonnes of waste away from landfill.
We are incredibly proud of what has been achieved to date but, we need more businesses to commit to making their operations more sustainable. To target the key decision makers, we use a range of methods. Without doubt the most effective way is through hosting, speaking and exhibiting at industry events. We regularly attend and speak at the All Energy event, held annually at the SEC in Glasgow, which focuses on decarbonisation and the energy industry supply chain.
You have won awards for your part in creating a circular economy and closed loop approach within the wind industry. Can you tell us more about this approach and what impact this has on creating green wind energy?
We wanted to create a sustainable alternative to manufacturing new parts for wind farms, so we developed our circular economy supply chain, where we restore unserviceable parts to their original 'as new' condition and resell them.
By using refurbished parts our customers are continuing to reduce their carbon footprint and becoming greener businesses.
Through this work, we have been recognised by our peers and the wider industry, which is hugely gratifying and we have now been nominated for and won several awards.
Last year we were awarded the 2020 Carbon Reduction Award at Scottish Renewable's Green Energy Awards. For us, this is one of the most prestigious award ceremonies within the UK's renewable energy sector as it is judged and watched by our customers and industry peers.
Winning awards like this helps us to spread our message out to a wider range of influencers. We think it is important to reach every part of the industry and ask them to think about sustainability throughout their organisation, from planning and consent teams, through to operational life, and into decommissioning.
One of the great values of business events is uniting experts from across the globe. As part of the ever-evolving renewable sector, how important is it to share knowledge and expertise to enhance sustainable practices?
Collaboration continues to be one of our highest priorities. We believe that the future of sustainability is only possible if the industry works together to create and develop new solutions and cultivate relationships with other businesses practicing sustainability, in and outside of the sector.
We are currently working with organisations and academia including Zero Waste Scotland, the University of Strathclyde, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop and research new products and processes. We have been working closely with the University of Strathclyde's Advance Materials Research Laboratory to stress test refurbished components to show that they are just as reliable as new ones.
As part of my role, I research and liaise with organisations that I believe Renewable Parts should collaborate with to grow our knowledge and expertise.
As a business we are talking to a variety of industries, including food and beverage and clothing, and understand their future plans in sustainability and translate it into our business and industry. We have recently been talking to the Nc'nean Distillery based in Oban, which is the UK's first net zero whisky distillery. We believe it's important that multi-industry collaboration and the sharing of ideas is important to reaching net-zero.
How important is it for your organisation to support rural economies?
Rural communities play a huge part in making wind energy a success and in supporting Scotland as it works towards achieving its net-zero goals. We think these areas should be one of the main benefactors of the increase in renewable energy, they are often at the heart of renewable energy construction. Rural communities are the perfect location for solar and wind developments because of the expansive terrains and natural resources they have available.
We believe these communities should be the first to offer their services to developments and to directly benefit from jobs created through the new sites be it new engineering roles or graduate schemes.
We have always had a site in our founder's hometown of Lochgilphead and work hard to bring in local talent from the community. We regularly introduce graduates from the local school system into the world of renewable energy and this is something we will continue to do this as the sector continues to expand.
You have many projects planned including the Innovation Centre in Lochgilphead, what else is in store for Renewable Parts in the coming years?
Our plan is to extend our capability through technology and support our customers as they continue their journey to become more efficient and sustainable.
We have a very enthusiastic customer base, which enables us to support more than 2,600 wind turbines across the country with a growing refurbishment supply chain to match.
Our new Innovation Centre, which will be four times the size of our current premises, is close to completion and will enable us to work on more projects concurrently. Over the next two to three years, we expect to double the size of our team and business as customer demand for our innovative services continues to increase. We are also working with new customers and partners to extend our business model into the international market.
As the focus on creating greener energy continues to increase year on year, we expect our business to grow in step with the rapid expansion of the wind industry.
Find out more about the Renewable Parts here