2018 Clean Energy Awards

12 Best Woodchip Biomass Suppliers - SouthWest England New Forest Energy offers a range of services to a diverse portfolio of clients, including the provision of a range of biomass products. We spoke to Jeremy Hinton, Director and Chief Operating Officer, to learn more. Established in 2009, New Forest Energy was created with the main aim of ‘bringing under managed woodlands back into viable management, through the production of biomass woodchip enabling a fair price for the lower grade materials’. These products have very few alternative markets and the price previously offered for them has made the general management of woodlands unsustainable on a small scale in the UK. Jeremy discusses how New Forest Energy has worked to develop its solutions within this young market and the secrets behind its continued prosperity. “As pioneers in this fledgling industry, at New Forest Energy we have worked hard to successfully bring seven local woodlands back into sustainable management by giving a fair market price for the previously undervalued chip material. We also purchase timber locally from a number of Woodland owners which has enabled them to make huge biodiversity improvements and to keep the woodlands in good management. “The entire industry remains young, and we have seen a number of competitors go out of business in recent years. The key to our continued success has been customer service – we understand that our customers are also new to biomass so they will not always know when they will need a delivery, in the cold months we have been able to offer ‘next day’ and even ‘same day’ deliveries to customers to stop their boilers from going out and the heating to their prisons, schools, universities, manufacturing buildings or homes going off.” Despite the growth the market has seen since it began, there remain many challenges for biomass providers, however Jeremy and his New Forest Energy team see these as opportunities and work hard to overcome them. He provides us with a fascinating overview of the market currently and explores how his company is working to adapt around the latest developments. “Ours is a tough market, however we are always looking to use our expertise and knowledge to overcome any challenges and adapt to continue meeting the needs of our clients. Recently, the RHI scandal in Ireland that has ultimately brought down a government is a clear demonstration of the fragility of this industry and the wider clean tech space. Biomass is still dependent on the RHI for financial viability and until the take up is of sufficient scale, this will continue to be the case. In order to keep the government and the taxpayers aligned with us, we must not only make sure that we play by the rules, but be able to clearly demonstrate this. Whilst this remains our ongoing focus, what differentiates New Forest Energy from our competitors and helps us to remain successful despite these challenges is that we believe in air drying and seasoning over 12 months at ride side rather than force drying apart from a few select customers and we have invested in huge storage facilities so that we have c.10,000m3 of chip ready for our customers meaning that we always have capacity to supply them even when the temperature drops in the peak months (December – March). “It is this focus on quality that marks us out as the best possible option for our clients. New boiler owners will always be dazzled by a low- price fuel, but the hidden costs of moving away from quality are very quickly seen through the maintenance and replacement of parts, down- time, management time and ultimately the lower performance of the boilers so we tend to