THE boss of an Aberdeenshire renewables company is raising money to build a wind turbine factory in Scotland, using a “game changing” secret design which he believes can revolutionise the industry.
Nigel Perkins set up Raggnar Power two years ago to exploit a growing niche for the installation and servicing of biomass energy systems for businesses.
The firm has expanded rapidly, establishing hubs across the UK, but Perkins says his real ambition has always been to bring his turbine design to market. He says the system overcomes all the major objections he has heard from anti-wind farm campaigners and would not have to rely on government subsidies to be economically viable.
He is earmarking about £10 million to set up the factory, and is negotiating with private backers to get the first tranche. He expects to have enough money in place to start the venture within six months.
Perkins insists he’s not a hippy, “not that there’s anything wrong with that,” – and his smart suit, business-like demeanour and background in the security industry back up the claim to the point of making it superfluous. But if he doesn’t seem like a dreamer, he certainly dreams big.
“My wind turbines will be amazing,” he told Scotland on Sunday. “I forecast them being everywhere in the world.
“Nobody is anywhere near doing what I want to do, to my knowledge.
“It needs a hell of a big investment but the returns are huge. I want to design and build a Scottish turbine for the world.”
Perkins says his design is simple enough that he needs to keep it a secret lest a competitor get in on the act ahead of him. He believes speed is of the essence, and he feels he has to get the venture moving by the end of next year at the very latest.
“I’m told investors like lots of patents, and I’m getting those,” he said. “But I think it’s all about speed of entering the marketplace.” He has enlisted Aberdeen accountant and dealmaker Anderson, Anderson & Brown to help his fledgling renewables grow, and to find backers. An Englishman who came to Scotland to set up his business, he feels he is ideally situated.
“The great thing about being in Aberdeen is that there’s a lot of very successful people about who made their money in fossil fuels, who might like to invest in renewables,” he said. He also likes the space available, allowing for easier expansion. He considers Inverness a good location for the factory.
Although the original biomass business was intended to fund the turbine plant, he is now enthusiastic on its future and also wants to expand into a number of other renewables-related niches, all part of a Raggnar group.
He said: “I’m on a mission to make renewables mainstream. It can’t remain ‘alternative’. Fossil fuels should be ‘alternative’.”