The Hydro and Wind Company Securing a clean energy future, profitably

Our Staff

Phil Davis Managing Director

Phil Davis

Phil Davis

A Chartered Mechanical Engineer with a BEng degree in Mechanical Engineering and Business Management and an MSc (with distinction) in Renewable Energy Systems Technology, Phil is a recognised UK expert in all things renewable, with a deep understanding of the technologies, the fundamental principles and manufacturers behind the products.

He’s managed Renewables First since its inception in 2009 and under his stewardship it has grown to be to become one of the UK’s leading hydropower companies and a leading player in the medium – large wind market. When not running Renewables First Phil can be found at various race tracks around the UK driving his classic Formula Ford racing cars which he maintains himself.

“I’m passionate about renewables because of my concerns about climate change. Although not anti-fossil-fuels, I believe we need to shift away from CO2-producing fuels as quickly as possible to prevent long-term damage to our climate. With careful planning and a stable policy framework (sadly lacking amongst the current generation of politicians) the UK could generate all of its energy from home-grown resources, which would be both good for the environment, make us energy independent and create thousands of premium jobs and export opportunities.”

Adrian Ezard Operations Manager

Adrian Ezard

Adrian Ezard

Adrian joined us in 2010 to manage the day to day operations of the business. After 26 years in IT working predominantly on mainframe systems Adrian decided to switch from a virtual to a physical environment. His experience with IT systems helps with the business and a personal interest in practical engineering lead him to Renewables First. He uses his technical skills to see the practical results as projects get built. Adrian works predominantly on hydro projects, typically on the site surveys, feasibility and consenting stages and helping on installations, where something different often crops up – especially if it involves getting wet.

When not in the office he is sailing, diving, swimming, wreck hunting, travelling, building a 35ft trimaran, running a 50 year old Land Rover – oh and a wife and some kids – all keeps him fairly busy !

“My interest in hydropower and renewables was sparked off after visiting a theatre restaurant in Sonning powered by a turbine in the Thames. Not much more than 100 years ago the country was reliant on hydro power – why don’t we use it now ? Wind, water and sun are all free limitless resources – burning fossil fuels for energy makes no logical sense – we seemed to have gone backwards. Instead of using technology to harness free power we use it to waste finite resources. We rely on oil for everything in our lives – try living without plastic ? It may not matter to the people in power but we’re killing the planet.”

Matthew Fletcher Senior Project Engineer

Matt Fletcher

Matt Fletcher

A Chartered Civil Engineer who joined Renewables First at the start of 2011 with a great deal of experience of environmental infrastructure engineering mainly for water industry. These skills were also used in disaster relief projects for six years all over the world where it was important to deliver practical solutions fast in complex environments. Matthew works on hydro power projects from feasibility to commissioning, with particularly attention to deliverable outputs of design and construction.

At home Matthew lives with his wife and three children who commission equally important projects like making tree houses.

“Whilst working in DR Congo I stayed in one village where a hydropower station at the old Lutheran mission still powered most key community services long after the missionaries were killed. It had kept turning for decades with hardly any maintenance to great value for the mission hospital as well as other services and local businesses. There was no obvious adverse impact, no belching smoke, wasted resource or blighted environment and no inexorably rising fuel bill. It is the sort of legacy that I want my engineering work to produce and more broadly speaking what our society and our governments should endeavour to achieve. A well designed renewable energy scheme returns on investment for generations to come. Compare that to the legacy of some of our other energy systems! Hydropower turbines generate ¾ of the world’s electricity and some of the earliest and longest running turbines are in the UK built with British expertise. Investing in renewable energy now not only secures an affordable energy future, but regenerates a sustainable industry sector.”

Arun Cappi Wind Team Leader

Arun Cappi

Arun Cappi

Arun has a BEng degree in Civil Engineering and an MSc ( with distinction ) in Environmental Analytical Chemistry and is currently studying for an MSc in Renewable Energy Systems Technologies in is spare time at Loughborough University. He has experience working initially as a civil / environmental engineer before moving into project engineering and project management in the Oil and Gas industry in a split role with IT systems management after which Arun moved to Group IT management for the same large multinational company. After seeing the light on energy policy and climate change he decided to refocus on renewable energy engineering and business development using his combined engineering, management and technical skill sets in a multi-disciplinary role. Arun leads the wind team, works on projects at the feasibility, design and construction phases while developing wind team operations. Arun also uses his extensive IT Management skills in developing and managing Renewables First’s Information Technology systems and development of a number of operational and business processes.

A keen horticulturist, chicken keeper and bread baker, Arun grows most of his own fruit and vegetables, and works with local communities and politicians lobbying and raising awareness for the urgent need for significant action on climate change.

“Fossil fuels have usefully driven economies in the past. The overwhelming scientific consensus on the anthropogenic causes of climate change, with every global licensed scientific institution agreeing on the urgent need to decarbonize the energy system, means significant actyion is required – especially to decarbonise the energy sector. Just as the stone age didn’t die out because of the lack of stones – the fossil fuel age must come to an end and the energy system transitioned to 21st century renewables if we are to sustain our future.”

Matt Hill Senior Project Engineer

Matt Hill

Matt Hill

Leaving university with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and spending 14 years as a design Engineer, working predominantly in the Oil and Gas and materials handling industries, Matt has a strong Design background and a thorough knowledge of 3D CAD Design principles.

He joined the company in 2014 to design and develop the Goflo Self Cleaning Screen, a brand new product for Renewables First. Using his design background, this new product has been fully developed using the latest 3D CAD software and Parametric Modelling principles to ensure maximum flexibility in design but minimum work at order placement to manufacture. When not in the office, Matt can normally be found in his garage working on his latest car project, or walking the hills and valleys with his family.

““I have always had a fascination for ‘how things work’ and always been interested in Hydro Power from small waterwheels to massive Reservoirs and Hydro Schemes. I just think the idea of harnessing natural resources to generate power is something that needs to be taken seriously, to prevent damage to the environment and make the country a cleaner place for generations to come.”

Chris Jones Financial Controller

Chris Jones

Chris Jones

Following completion of his A-Levels, Chris went straight into the world of accountancy and is now qualified as a Certified Accountant (ACCA) and also a Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (MAAT). He joined Renewables First in early 2015 taking on the Financial Controller role but prior to this, Chris spent the previous 7 years working within a local public practice accountancy firm.

In his spare time, Chris has a passion for music and is a member of a local Brass Band where he plays Principal B♭ Cornet and is currently the Band Manager. In addition to music, Chris enjoys a wide-range of sport, particularly Formula 1, football and cricket.

“The renewable energy sector is key to the long-term sustainability of the planet for future generations and so to be involved in a business providing new and innovative renewable energy solutions is something very exciting and rewarding to be a part of.”

Matthew Lomax Wind and Hydro Consenting Specialist

Matt Lomax

Matt Lomax

BSc (Hons) Business Management and MSc (with distinction) in Environmental Management, Matt has a broad background in sustainability covering Environmental Management Systems, Energy and Carbon Management. His focus for the past 3 years has been on managing planning applications for sub 5MW renewables particularly wind and hydro all over the UK. Matt also manages the licencing process with the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and SEPA.

At Renewables First he has a very high success rate of approved applications due to a detailed and pragmatic approach to the planning process by developing relationships with planners and stakeholders alike.

“I am passionate about renewables because we have one planet and it is the only logical option! Resources are finite and it is common sense to harness the natural energy that is all around us. Local generation meeting local demand whilst exploiting opportunities to inter connect with others, at a regional, national and international level to even out the peaks and troughs. It is very rewarding to be part of the solution.”

Chris Elliott Senior Hydro Engineer

Chris Elliott

Chris Elliott

Chris is a chartered mechanical engineer and has a decade of experience in the UK micro hydro industry. He has extensive experience of low head Screw turbines, as well as conventional higher head machines, and has designed and installed well over 1MW of small and micro scale plants. Chris has been closely involved with the British Hydropower Association and represented the industry in various stakeholder groups, as well as speaking at public events.

When not designing scheme for clients, Chris operates 300kW of sites in the South West of England. Being based in the heart of Dartmoor, he likes to get out in the landscape with his family as often as possible.

“Hydro is a really sustainable energy source – we work on sites which have reliably supplied power for over a millennium – and we a simply another generation harnessing that power sensitively. Power generated by renewable sources has the benefit of having a quantifiable and controllable environmental impact, and investment in these technologies provides high quality employment throughout development and operation, which therefore is economically beneficial for the country.”

Richard Rider Senior Hydropower Engineer

Richard Rider

Richard Rider

Richard joined Renewables First in 2011, bringing 7 years of consulting and 2 years of contracting experience in civil and environmental engineering. Richard is responsible for managing the design and installation phases of hydro projects, and has particular experience in cross-flow and low head screw systems. Richard’s technical experience and construction design know-how helps us identify and overcome risks early in projects. Outside of work, Richard is a keen cyclist and photographer.

“I am concerned about climate change and the acidification of oceans, and believe that hydro is part of the low carbon future necessary to maintain bio-diversity. Man has been harnessing water’s power since antiquity and we are simply taking on the mantle with more efficient technology.”

Will Houghton Renewable Energy Engineer

Will Houghton

Will Houghton

Will graduated in 2012 with a 1st class MSci Physics degree with specialisations in environmental physics and geophysical fluid dynamics, providing a good understanding of the technical aspects of renewable energy. Through volunteering at university and subsequent canal restoration with the Cotswold Canals Trust, he gained valuable organisation and practical skills, essential in wind and hydro projects.

His responsibilities include feasibility studies, project finance analysis, geomorphology assessments, EA and planning applications, CAD design and construction phase management. His role often involves bringing together a wide range of stakeholders from landowners and community groups to contractors and technical specialists. He co-ordinated all aspects of a 500kW wind turbine installation in 2014 and is currently managing several sub-100kW hydro projects.

Outside of work, Will enjoys going to music and spoken word events, and is also learning how to complete bat surveys with the Avon Bat Group!

“It’s great to be part of the renewable energy industry, because it’s growing and evolving all the time, with lots of innovation both in technical areas and in terms of how renewable energy projects are financed and operated. I particularly like how wind and hydro power make such a positive use of wind and rain – the perfect antidote to our wet and windy British weather.”

Patrick Fitzgerald Renewable Energy Engineer

Patrick Fitzgarald

Patrick Fitzgarald

Following the completion of a BEng in Mechanical Engineering, Patrick completed a 3 year graduate programme as a Project Engineer in the mining industry on numerous sites all over Australia.
He previously worked on mineral processing sites which enabled him to adapt his knowledge of the pump industry into hydropower engineering. Since starting with Renewables First in early 2014 he has been heavily involved in the detailed design, procurement stage, project management and construction phase management for a 350kW high head hydro project in North Wales (currently mid-way through construction). He has also assisted in moving several 100kW low and high head schemes from feasibility through to consent and planning approval.

“After seeing my first decommissioned hydro site in Tasmania (once providing enough electricity for the city of Launceston), I had an overpowering feeling that renewable energy must play a significant role in our future. I believe we need to be investing in our sustainable future and with the ever increasing demand for electricity and the diminishing supply of fossil fuels, now is the time. This requires us to stop making mistakes of the past and to cease the exploitation of our environment with radical forms of mining such as coal seam gasification. Renewable energy allows us to tap in to sustainable energy which would otherwise go to waste.”

Jacopo Antonelli Wind Engineer

Jacopo Antonelli

Jacopo Antonelli

Jacopo obtained his BEng in Energy Engineering, and later graduated from Gotland University (Sweden) with an MSc in Wind Power Project Management, gaining an all-round understanding of wind developments, from the wind resource assessment to the planning and installation stages, of both single turbine projects and large wind farms.

He joined Renewables First in 2013, and has since then mainly been dealing with the different aspects of the feasibility and planning stages, producing site plans, modelling the energy production and the financial returns, producing noise assessments, preparing ZTVs and photomontages. In his spare time he’s either at home cooking and watching films, or attached to a rope at the local climbing gym.

“I became interested in renewables almost by accident, when I’ve heard 10 or so years ago of a town in Denmark 100% powered by renewables, and it got me interested enough to read further about it and make renewables my career. With the climate changes getting more and more a serious concern, it feels good to be one of the ‘good guys’ trying to make things better and help shaping a better world for future generations, especially since far too many people seem to underestimate or completely ignore this matter.”

Steffan Waters Hydropower Engineer

Steffan Waters

Steffan Waters

Steffan is a motivated and adaptable BEng Mechanical Engineering graduate from Swansea University and concentrates on hydropower feasibility assessments and system design. During his degree he looked at a number of renewable energy projects giving him a broad understanding of different systems, which included wind turbine design and a feasibility study research paper.

He likes to travel and completed a study abroad ‘Energy Tomorrow – Engineering and Management’ programme at the University of New South Wales, Australia during summer 2013 where he learned about global issues in the energy industry.

“Following my 3rd year university research project I wanted a career involving renewables. My project was a feasibility study of micro-hydro, wind and solar systems to power an electrochemical water treatment plant at an abandoned metal mine site in Wales based on reliability, predicted power generation and cost. I concluded that hydropower was the most feasible source and designed a Pelton Turbine system to satisfy the site requirements”

Damien Gibbons Undergraduate Engineer

Damien Gibbons

Damien Gibbons

Damien began his apprenticeship with Renewables First in October 2012, where he studied towards a BTEC level 3 in mechanical engineering. This has now been sucessfully completed and he is currently studying towards his HNC in Mechanical engineering (with hopes of continuing on to degree level). Damien is involved in many areas of hydro project work, ranging from feasibility studies, artistic impressions to maintenance and mechanical installation.

Outside of the office Damien enjoys cycling (Lands’ end to Cheltenham earlier this year), cooking, and painting, has recently become a trainee guitar player and has become involved with the local judo club, with hopes of competing in the near future.

“Personally, I do not agree with our current use of fossil fuels. The ever growing need for renewable sources of energy made Renewables First an obvious choice for me to start my engineering career and in doing my part in contributing towards sustainable electricity generation.”

Carly Taylor Engineering Apprentice

Carly Taylor

Carly Taylor

Carly has qualifications in BTEC Level 3 Construction and the Built Environment and in Mechanic Engineering, and now starting the BTEC HNC in Mechanic Engineering.

She started at Renewables First in October 2013 as an engineering apprentice and she is involved in hydro and wind feasibility assessments. Outside of work Carly has been volunteering for Stroud Sea Cadets for 9 Years and enjoys kayaking and mountaineering in her spare time.

“I think Renewable energy is important because of climate change and our future. We need to protect our climate sooner rather than later so wind and hydro projects are a step in the right direction to protect our environment.”

Ben Norton Engineering Apprentice

Ben Norton

Ben Norton

Ben joined Renewables First in 2013 as an apprentice engineer. He takes part in all aspects of hydropower projects under the supervision of senior engineers, from feasibility studies to design to onsite installation. Ben has just finished his part time level 3 NVQ in Mechanical Engineering at College, and is now starting his Level 4 HNC in September. Ben has more recently become involved in detailed design of hydro systems.

Ben regularly takes part with the Renewables First football team and enjoys travelling.

“I like the thought of helping to provide clean energy to the UK, and help to reduce the need for fossil fuel consumption.”

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Are you considering a low carbon renewable energy project?

Renewables First have considerable experience and full project capability, from initial feasibility studies through to system design and installation for wind and hydro power systems.

Read more about renewable energy in our Hydro Learning Centre and Wind Learning Centre. Alternatively, take the Wind Site Self Assessment or contact us about a hydropower feasibility study today.