Engineering a bright future

A HIGH voltage engineering company, which recently opened a new office in Sunderland, has its eyes on further growth after bagging £1.15m in funding.

EDS HV was launched in Lancashire in 1993 and offers a complete end-to-end turnkey engineering solution, working on renewable energy projects across the globe.

The renewable energy sector has witnessed unprecedented growth in recent years and EDS HV is no different, having opened offices in Aberdeen, County Down, Suffolk and Sunderland in recent years.

Recognising that the North East is becoming a strategic hub in the offshore sector, and in order to meet growing demand for their services, the company decided to open its Sunderland base in 2014.

With a municipal port, immediate access to the open sea and skills inherited from the heavy industries era, Sunderland was an obvious choice, with many other organisations from the offshore industry having located there.

Headed up by Technical Manager Geoff Briggs, the Sunderland arm of the business grew rapidly and it wasn’t long until the company needed to invest in new, larger premises to service its growing client base.  Working alongside Make it Sunderland, the business support and inward investment campaign supported by Sunderland City Council, the company relocated to a new city centre office at Sunderland Software Centre last year.

“We’ve grown rapidly since we opened our first office in the city four years ago, growing from a team of one to a team of 13,” Geoff said.  “Having looked at a number of developments across the city, we settled on Sunderland Software Centre as it perfectly suited our needs.  We’re close to the port, the transport links are fantastic, we can utilise the board and meeting rooms and the facilities here are second to none.”

The company recently secured £1.15m in funding after being made aware of a new European funding programme by the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).  A total of 1,400 companies applied for funding via the EU Funded Horizon 2020 scheme, with 50 companies managing to secure funding – only three of which were from the UK.

The funding will help EDS carry out large-scale customer trials of its newly developed Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) technology that detects subsea cable faults in real time.   The tests will help demonstrate the technical advantages over its currently deployed technology and ensure that all technical and commercial targets are hit prior to market entry.

Geoff added: “We truly believe that the development of this technology will be a game changer within the industry, and the funding will enable us to develop Cable Sentry to the next level.  Having already used Cable Sentry on site to accurately locate cable faults, we are very excited about the possibilities for the system once it is fully developed.”

Looking to the future, Geoff is now hoping EDS continues its upwards trajectory and is confident about the future.  He said: “We are now starting to win more operations and maintenance contracts which will bring a more predictive revenue stream to the business.  We are also starting to take on weather risk and supply support vessels to further limit the risk to the client.  Having already grown the business from seven full-time employees to over 60 in the last four years, the future certainly looks bright for EDS.”

Speaking about the company’s success, Sunderland City Council Leader, Cllr Graeme Miller, said:

“EDS is a fantastic example of the kind of innovative businesses turning its attention to Sunderland.  The continued investment into the Port of Sunderland and the resurgence of the North Sea renewables sector has helped the city position itself as a real destination of choice for businesses in the energy sector over recent years.  EDS HV is a prime example of this and is a business with huge potential. We are excited to see what the future will bring for the team and are delighted to have been able to support their journey.”

For more information about the Offshore Energy sector in the North East please view Energy Gateway North East England 

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