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UN role for North East energy expert

20 June 2016

A North East England biomass energy expert has been appointed by the United Nations to help grow the green energy industry of a former Soviet state.

Neil Harrison, director of Alnwick-based re:heat, is the UN Development Programme’s new external adviser on biomass, with a brief to assist Georgia in moving away from its dependency on fossil fuels to a more sustainable future based on renewable energy use.

With well over a decade’s experience in the biomass sector, Neil and the re:heat team have established a reputation for professionalising the UK wood heat industry to ensure it reaches its full potential.

Their consultancy services are in high demand – for example the Department of Energy and Climate Change asked re:heat to provide expert analysis of the likely future costs of installing and running biomass wood-burning heating in the UK.

Neil’s experience will be vital in helping the UN deliver its aim of developing their bioenergy sector, and promoting the sustainable production and use of upgraded biomass fuels in Georgia.

Neil will undertake three missions to Georgia over the next 12 months, to input his knowledge to the project on the ground while being available to provide phone and email advice when needed. Georgia - with a population of 3.7 million people - embarked on a programme of major structural reform after it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Neil said: “I’m delighted at this appointment, to be able to support the establishment and growth of a sustainable bioenergy industry in a country which has a number of unique opportunities and challenges.

“It’s recognition of the work re:heat has been doing and our standing in the industry.

“I’ll work as an external expert to the Georgia office of the UN on their wide reaching programme of support to grow the country’s biomass energy sector.

“Georgia has no history of biomass use, so expertise and knowledge of the technology is limited, so they want me to help provide that for them.

“The project aims to take the country off fossil fuels and onto renewable energy, making better use of their 40% forest cover for biomass energy.

“They see it as a growth sector to create new employment and meet carbon emission targets.”

Neil applied for the post and was successfully interviewed over Skype by officials from the UN Development Programme. re:heat was founded in 2011 by Neil and fellow director Ben Tansey to assist businesses of all sizes convert from fossil fuels to sustainable, low carbon wood fuel heating systems.

re:heat provides advice about the latest biomass technologies and has seen the amount of consultancy work it undertakes treble in the last year.

With a further expected 50% increase within the next 12 months, the volume of specialist advice provided to the public sector, traditional estates and private companies is now worth six figures.

More at www.reheat.uk.com


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