Centrica Appoints Iain Conn as Chief Executive
The U.K.’s Centrica announced Iain Conn as its new Chief Executive this week. Conn will take over on January 1, 2015, replacing Sam Laidlaw, who is retiring at the end of this year, and be paid a salary of £925,000.
Conn comes to Centrica from British Petroleum, where he has served as Chief Executive, Downstream, which is BP’s refining and marketing division, for the past 7 years. This is a big role within BP, as the position is responsible for running BP’s customer-facing activities in the fuels, lubricants, and petrochemicals sectors. This involves all parts of those aspects of BP, including shaping the company’s retail services, which has 18,000 service stations in 70 countries, and an estimated customer base of 12,000 per day.
Conn has been a board member at BP since 2004 and has previously held other roles throughout the company.
Chairman of Centrica Rick Haythornthwaite praised Conn, saying his diverse experience will be beneficial to the business. “His breadth of knowledge and commitment to customers and safety make him ideally suited to lead Centrica in the next phase of its development,” he added.
Laidlaw expressed his gratitude in leading Centrica during such an exciting time in energy development.
“My aim has always been to help create a leading integrated energy company capable of meeting those demands while keeping customers and the communities we serve at the heart of what we do,” he said. “Much remains to be done in the rest of the year but I am enormously appreciative of the unstinting work and support of my 37,000 colleagues who all contribute to Centrica's success.”
While Laidlaw is realistic in the amount of work to be done, Conn is up to the challenge. He expressed his excitement, but also signified it was time to really get to work in keeping Centrica a reliable and secure utility.
“Centrica also has a major responsibility for long-term energy supplies, particularly for the UK,” he noted. “I recognize the challenges which we face in rebuilding customer trust in the sector and helping to create an effective and sustainable approach to energy markets. I look forward to playing my part, along with all of Centrica's people, in striving to achieve these goals."
Upon appointment, Iain will also become Chairman of the Executive and Disclosure Committees and a member of the Corporate Responsibility Committee.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.