Octopus investment in Craigavon heat pump specialist to bring 100 'green' jobs

Octopus Energy Group has taken a controlling interest in Craigavon manufacturer RED, with a full acquisition to be completed by the end of this year.
Gary McDonald Business Editor

CRAIGAVON-based heat pump maker Renewable Energy Devices (RED) has been bought by global energy tech pioneer Octopus Energy in a multi-million pound deal which will create 100 new green engineering jobs in the next two years.

The move will see RED's current factory at Charlestown Drive in Portadown expanded to produce more than 1,000 heat pumps a month, with other locations scoped to build further factories.

The strategic investment sees Octopus initially take a controlling interest in RED, with a full acquisition expected by the end of this year.

The partnership will disrupt the market, allowing the companies to build quiet, highly efficient and stylish-looking heat pumps initially for UK customers.

The products will come in a range of different sizes, with a focus on smaller options suitable for the most common homes in the UK (the British government is targeting 600,000 heat pumps to be installed every year by 2028).

RED was founded by Dr Jason Cassells in March 2014 to bring innovation highly efficient renewable energy heating products and solutions to the marketplace.

It has since developed a market-leading range of air source heat pumps along with controls, hot-water distribution and storage systems which it claims can provide 5kW of heat for every 1kW of electric consumed, or 500 per cent efficient.

When bought with the government’s new Boiler Upgrade Scheme, the locally-produced pumps will cost about the same as a gas boiler, and by scaling production, the partners are planning to bring costs down even further, with a view to eliminating the need for government support over time.

RED - which locally sources 80 per cent of parts for its products - designs and manufactures a range of patented air source heat pumps in-house, including their controls, software and heating distribution systems, making low carbon heating more accessible and regionally sourced.

Dr Cassells said: “When I founded RED, I had a dream to make heat pumps affordable, to put as many heat pumps in as many homes as possible and to make green heating accessible to everyone.

“With Octopus’ financial backing, industry knowledge and tech expertise, combined with our heat pump know-how, this dream will finally become reality. We’re at the cusp of a clean heating revolution, and Octopus is leading it.”

Octopus plans to incorporate its “smart grid” technology into the heat pumps which will enable them to make the most of “spare” capacity on the electricity grid and distribution networks, and reduce the load at peak times - and lower running costs for customers.

Greg Jackson, chief executive of Octopus Energy

Greg Jackson, founder and chief executive of Octopus Energy Group, said: “I'm thrilled that Jason and his team are joining forces with us. Their huge talent has created exceptional technology for efficient, quiet heat pumps.

“This agreement will involve major investments into heat pump manufacturing, creating valuable green jobs and helping increase our energy security by getting more homes off gas, and drive down costs for customers.”

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