Opening up the pathways of Commerce and Power in 2022
The UK construction industry starts 2022 with more than a few green shoots. It's starting to look like a rebirth, with existing projects proceeding at speed, delayed schemes resumed and new contracts up for grabs all across the industrial, commercial, leisure, travel and communications spaces.
Well underway is the expansion of the German international supermarket chain Aldi. Plans to build 100 new stores were announced in the autumn of 2021 and the project is expected to complete by the summer of 2023. The company's commitment to the UK groceries retail industry shows a welcome confidence that the pricing and supply tribulations experienced by all the major chains will not last. The project will see the UK presence increased by more than 10% and includes a 1.3 million square foot distribution centre at Nailstone Collier in west Leicestershire. No locations have yet been made public apart from a flagship development in Greenwich, south east London, of a checkout-free store which will pioneer the use of cameras, sensors and AI to monitor, record and process transactions.
The rapid growth of warehouse and logistics specialist Glencar continues with revenue increasing by 11% to over £160 million for the year ended Sept 31 2021. The company is on something of a roll, having been identified as a company to watch in the years ahead. Its £65 million contract for a vaccine manufacturing centre was accelerated in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and it was appointed to deliver two large distribution centres at Exeter and Chippenham. It has an enviable track record and the company says its forward order book currently totals £300 million. It has taken on 80 new employees, relocated to larger premises in Birmingham and opened a new office in Manchester. Glencar's success story clearly has many chapters ahead.
State-of-the-Art Green Distribution Centre for DHL
During the pandemic, which has lasted longer than many forecast two years ago, online retail and ecommerce have thrived, driving significant change in consumer buying habits. One of the results has been a huge increase in the volume of parcel deliveries shared between the major courier companies. DHL is one of the leading beneficiaries so it is perfect timing that they should have contracted Stoford to build a new 55,000 square foot parcel distribution centre and warehouse in Clyst Honiton, East Devon which is part of the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone.
When complete, the project will provide 150 new jobs but the most impressive aspects are its innovative environmental features. It is designed to function with a minimum of onsite vehicles and has electric charging points, a sustainable drainage system, solar panels and a green roof. Designed in accordance with the objectives of East Devon District Council's carbon-zero green development policies, the Hayes Farm site will be the main distribution hub in the south west beyond Bristol.
Battery Power for the National Grid
The construction of a new battery storage site is underway at Clay Tye in Essex near the M25 in the joint hands of the UK's Harmony Energy and the Saudi-owned Spanish renewable energy firm Fotowatio Renewable Ventures. The two firms have recently concluded work on a 34MW/68MWh Contego battery energy storage facility near Burgess Hill in Sussex which features a system of 28 Tesla Megapacks and Autobidder software. The new project is a 99MW/198MWh facility which will also use Tesla technology.
The sited will connect to UK Power Networks and provide valuable support and flexibility to the national grid. It is part of a global strategy to create a worldwide portfolio of renewable energy storage.