Seasonl Stocktake: Rick Eggleston, managing director of REpower UK

Cautiously optimistic, if we can get some stability

1. How confident are you about the year ahead?

Let's say cautiously optimistic. There are clear signs that in our industry, wind power, things are beginning to move again. The economic environment is definitely becoming more favourable.

2. Do you think the economy is out of the woods?

No, but we can see the sun glinting through the trees. Exchange rates are forecast to be reasonably stable, and bank finance is loosening up. However, as a nation, we have a long slow climb ahead.

3. What challenges will 2011 hold for your business?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

To rebuild our project pipeline to a level before the crash. Currently some of our customers are delaying their contracts which makes planning difficult. But this is only a short-term problem. A secondary issue is the recruitment and retention of the right people. With the renewable energy sector set to grow, the demand for skills is likely to outstrip supply leading to skills shortages.

4. What would help you overcome those challenges?

More stability across the board. Stable exchange rates, stable interest rates, a stable obligation system and a stable renewable policy from Whitehall and Holyrood.

5. Was 2010 better or worse than you expected?

The snowsports were outstanding, here and abroad! On the business front, there is no doubt that market conditions have been extremely challenging, but we can be thankful that our industry has fared better than most.

6. If you could introduce or change one government policy to help your business, what would it be?

As per question four, any business planning a project of 20 years plus needs a stable framework. At present there is uncertainty about many areas from energy policy, to the grid strategy and planning system. For instance, it is too early yet to know what impact the new electricity reforms will have on the industry, but they will certainly inject uncertainty at a time when we need recovery.

7. Where would you like your business to be by the end of 2011?

We have an ambitious growth plan. In 2011 we need to significantly increase our sale of onshore turbines, and make a big impact on the offshore market. We are aiming to establish ourselves as one of the top two turbine suppliers for both markets.

8. What's the one item or gadget you're going to buy in 2011?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I've already bought it. It's a new pair of skis which I hope to christen early in the New Year.

9. What's your new year's resolution?

Not to make a new year's resolution!

10. Will Andy Murray win Wimbledon?

I doubt it. I think Andy is the Jimmy White of tennis, destined always to be the brides- maid and never the bride.