ZRE Katowice at the Kent Renewable Energy Project

As you will have seen in the various posts and articles on this website I have a great love of the oil and gas industry. In particular my early days working in North Sea gas production have a special place in my heart. However, time and finance wait for no person and as troubled waters worldwide reduced output so my time there was pushed to a conclusion.

Christine in high vis, onsite in Kent
Adapting has left me with a smile on my face, a long road worth taking.

Like many HSE personnel recent years had me look towards the land. That caused some anxiety. What I now realise is that all the time I worked offshore I was with a very hardy group of people of all disciplines. It was only as I began to consider undertaking roles in construction that I appreciated how the company I had been keeping had given me a good measure of that ‘can do’ resilience.


I have found that working with great people at ZRE Katowice was both boundary expanding and comfortable all at the same time. That was a feeling I had from day one. Engineers ( I include everyone here in that term) build things, they adapt, they innovate. Big things get built because the plans and experience say they can be built. It is of no consequence what country men and women who can do these things come from. The language of achieving success from long hours and the moment to moment application of skills is universal.

high lift crane early in the projects develoment. At night lit up in front of a steel frame.
Night work! The joys of watching out for everything while all is in shadow or blinding light

Power Specialists with Over 60 Years Experience

You can view the company’s history on the web link below.  I do sometimes reflect on the distance in both geography and range that ZRE has travelled since it began in 1955.

Back then it repaired big things that made power production possible in a very different Poland to the one we know today. The early workers would have been in possession of supernatural powers if they could have foreseen the modern global company it has developed into.

Zakład Remontowy Energetyki (click here) now has several divisions and has expanded into offshore power production. That is what I was getting at in the intro, it doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by the sea, hills or plains in this sort of work, it is the mentality people that counts.

BWSC and ZRE in Kent

So this is where I am now. It was sort of an accident that I didn’t stray too far from my origins in the energy field. I toyed with the idea of manufacturing, but there is something about the organised chaos of a site in full conquest of an idea. Out at sea I was HSE on the campaigns, building and expanding, sometimes forcing a plan to happen over the elements.

Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S  are the primary contractor for the Kent Renewable Energy Project. Simply put ZRE build the boiler. It is of course not simply done, but that is the nature of the game.

In the end the biomass plant will produce 27.8 MW, the equivalent power requirement of 50,000 homes. In addition, it will supply Discovery Park. Discovery Park, based in  Sandwich, is a centre for science, technology and business. Exactly the sort of areas the UK needs to keep up with in the fast moving world around us.

My Part

BWSC and their partner Copenhagen Infrastructure II K/S are the big players with 20% and 80% stake respectively. As the articles here will say, it is small parts working together that make a project a success. Equally it is the failure of the small parts, especially in the area of safety, that can blight a project. ZRE trust me to keep people safe and the deadlines within grasp. It is a pleasant, pressured daily challenge that all  HSE advisers  who work in heavy industry know. The frustrations and the discussions are all part of it. Peppered in these words are lots of pictures of heavy cranes. I like heavy cranes, I also feel that when the big stuff is on the move and everyone is working all around, that is when you have to be really on your toes.

I’m glad I made the transition now from the North Sea to here. I’m glad I am learning every day and I am proud to be part of this environmentally important project.

I hope all is going equally well in your world. If you are thinking of moving your HSE skills from one field into another and want a bit of a sounding board, feel free to contact me on the link below.

Take Care

Chris Hodge