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[ Question time: Stuart Mackenzie ]

Without renewable technology, you will not be able to achieve those levels in the Code for Sustainable Homes

Secretary of State for Climate Change Chris Huhne (centre) and Stuart Mackenzie (right) during a visit from the minister to Dimplex’s Southampton offi ces

then the drivers came here. The Kyoto Protocol was probably the kick-start for us in the UK, increasing the awareness to reduce carbon. We are now beginning to see the fruits of our labours.

ECA Today: What advancements in renewables should we expect to see in the future? Stuart Mackenzie: We’ll be seeing more advances in controls – they are going to play a very important part in the future. Smart metering will be integral. And we’ll also be seeing home energy management systems, whereby at times of peak demand the energy supplier can turn off individual appliances. For example, in the middle of a World Cup game there is a lot of demand for electricity, so the supplier could shut down your refrigerator or freezer – but they wouldn’t shut down your washing machine if you were washing some woollens in there! There will be developments in recycled materials as well.

We’re using more and more recycled materials in our main factory. It’s practising what we preach again. We’ve just launched a new range of heat pump cylinders and unvented cylinders, and the outer casing is made entirely of recycled plastic material. That’s just an example. Our engineers are looking at opportunities to use more and more recycled materials in our product range.

ECA Today: Is Dimplex involved in any ground-breaking projects at the moment? Stuart Mackenzie: There is a project that we are involved in that is really quite innovative with Scottish and Southern Energy – it’s called the Nines project and it’s based up in Shetland (Northern Isles). This new energy system is where large-scale renewables come into play. Scottish and Southern Energy have invested very heavily in large-scale wind power, but one of their biggest problems at the moment is that on a bitterly cold day with no wind, the turbines aren’t turning to produce power, so we need to store energy. And, although

there are advances being made in battery technology, that is going to be a little while off before it is commercially viable. So, in this jointed scheme, energy will be stored in a new heater we are developing. When the energy company has excess power and they want to store it somewhere, they can send it to our new heater. There will always be heat in there with the consumer able to access and use whenever they want. That is pretty hot of the press – it has just been announced. We’ve been working on it for a while, and this October we will be installing the fi rst of this new breed of heaters in there.

ECA Today: What is your opinion regarding the relationships in the renewables supply chain? Stuart Mackenzie: It’s still very embryonic. The electrical wholesale and merchant channel are very keen to be involved in renewables. As the volumes increase, there will be more participants. Some are already ahead of the curve at the moment. There is great interest from both electrical wholesalers and merchants in this technology, and some are already running their own training courses. It is quite diverse. As it becomes more established, more mainstream, wholesalers will know what to stock, as there is a large width and breadth of product to stock at the moment. It can only get better as the market takes off.

ECA Today: As a leading manufacturer, do you fi nd value in your relationship with trade associations such as the ECA? Stuart Mackenzie: We’re an affi liate [of the ECA] and it is really a great communication medium for us to get to all the ECA members. I mean that genuinely. And it allows us to participate with members in seminars. We did a number of PV CPD presentations with the ECA last year. We’ve also had products on the Renewables Roadshow that the ECA has been doing around the country. It just works – and it’s a great relationship.

About the author

Frankie Snobel Françoise (aka ‘Frankie’) Snobel is a freelance journalist who has been covering the electrical industry for more than four years online, in print and on camera.

May 2011 ECA Today 37

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