Access Hire Industry Insights: Four Key Challenges for the Power Sector in 2022

A thriving power sector is at the heart of any developed economy. In the UK, it supports over 700,000 jobs and contributes £27 billion annually in gross value added¹.

But with climate crisis, geopolitical challenges and ongoing supply chain shocks, the sector faces serious challenges in the coming years. To meet these challenges, it will require massive investment – as well as high levels of innovation across entire organisations.

From strategic thinking to the kinds of vehicle mounted access platforms used onsite, every aspect of the power sector’s operations will have to be optimised. In order to do that, organisations must understand the challenge – and opportunities – that they face.

In this report, we explore four key trends that will define 2022 and beyond.

1. Decarbonisation difficulties

Climate crisis is amongst the most urgent challenges of our time and as a raft of new policies seeks to encourage action, companies in the energy sector will feel the pressure to transition away from reliance on fossil fuels.

The UK government has pledged to achieve a 78% reduction in economy-wide greenhouse-gas emissions by 2035², and whilst the UK has so far boasted the world’s fastest decarbonisation campaign³, 40% of energy still comes from fossil fuels – meaning serious challenges lay ahead.

It’s not just about replacing fossil fuels

As the economy decarbonises, energy will still be required in huge quantities. In fact, experts project a massive increase in electricity demand – with an overall increase of 2% each year for next the two decades

The decarbonisation effort will involve a shift towards things like electric vehicles and electric heat pumps in homes, and while these will enable a radical decrease in emissions, they will also require a far greater quantity of electricity.

This means decarbonisation is not simply a matter of replacing fossil fuels, but finding scalable, reliable, ecologically viable and affordable ways to meet a 56% increase in demand for electricity.

2. Renewable innovation

We should expect renewables to play a significant role in this puzzle. In 2020, the UK’s wind and solar usage hit a historic high – producing 43% of the country’s total electricity. However, in order to scale up to meet demand, these power sources will require both huge investment and significant innovation.

Part of the challenge is building a new type of infrastructure. Slow planning consent and insufficient grid infrastructure, has led many in the power sector to feel increasing frustration that logistical difficulties are keeping them from properly embracing renewables.

Many believe the situation is more severe, and requires a wholesale redesign of the energy market in order to enable things like distributed energy-source integration, demand-side response and more flexible power services. This will require organisations to coordinate their efforts – with some calling for a whole new industry body to be formed, to oversee the efforts.

Extreme investment is needed

Current estimates suggest it will cost roughly £200 billion to achieve a truly renewable-powered economy – and investment will have to reach £50 billion a year by 2030 to meet current targets and demand projections

But innovation should simply be focused on the form of energy or infrastructure. Instead, as McKinsey has compellingly argued, power sector organisations should meet their current challenges as opportunities.

Innovation should be baked into everything organisations do, from supply chain formation to ensuring your fleet vehicles are kept fully compliant  – unlocking huge gains across the entire value chain¹⁰.

3. Cost increases

As the power sector looks to make the shifts we explored above, it must also address ongoing price pressures which threaten to produce serious economic problems. The UK’ energy price cap increased by a record-breaking 54% in April of this year¹¹, and this inflationary pressure shows no signs of abating.

This is the product of a “perfect storm” of factors, leading to global wholesale energy prices to increase. Stored gas levels are much lower than normal, after unexpectedly high usage in the winter. Simultaneously, there has been a decrease in gas impacts from Russia¹².

The result is expected to be an increase of roughly £700 to the average household’s annual energy bill¹³, and with widespread fears of such inflation leading to severe economic turmoil, the power sector will feel pressure to manage supply chain challenges and keep inflation at a manageable level.

Consumers aren’t the only ones feeling the pressure

The result is expected to be an increase of roughly £700 to the average household’s annual While the impact on the cost of living has received the most publicity, individual consumers are far from alone in this. Businesses are also feeling the burn of fuel cost increases, with new legislation causing the price of red diesel to virtually double, and forcing businesses to either adapt their fuel usage or incur four figure increase in their overheads¹⁴.

4. Geopolitical change

In recent years, Western countries have become increasingly reliant on imported energy. In 2020, the European Union’s import dependency rate stood at 57.5% in 2020¹⁵. This creates a profound vulnerability to sudden shifts in price – such as the oil shocks of the 1970s – or geopolitical changes.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had a dramatic impact on virtually all areas of Western economies, as businesses almost unanimously agreed to cut ties with the aggressor. This now means the power sector faces a more complex challenge in this regard, as the severe risk involved in Europe’s reliance on Russian power has been revealed.

While the UK doesn’t directly rely on Russia in this regard, the global power market will be seriously impacted – and this will have serious consequences for Britain. Gas bills are expected to rise £600 more than otherwise projected, adding further pressure to the price increases explored above¹⁶.

This must lead to widespread change

The overarching trend here is not the short-term impact but the message it sends to the power sector: reliance on international trade is a far greater liability than previously assumed. We should expect to see Western countries taking this hint to become more self-sufficient in the coming years. Many claim that this is the perfect time to make such a transition: the demands of a more ecologically viable power system necessitate a less globalised network.


Tea Break with the Team

Meet the Kelling Team

Make yourself comfortable, grab a cuppa and meet one of the friendliest faces at
Kelling Group, our newly promoted Internal Sales Manager Faye…

Tell us a little bit about your role Faye

My new role is Internal Sales Manager for the Welfare Hire division of the group. This involves supplying new prospects and accounts with quotes and information on our full range of Welfare Hire products and services. I then follow up to ensure that the client has all the information required and help set them up with their first hire. As part of this, we also prospect for new clients and develop lasting hire relationships for the future. I find this both rewarding and exciting, no two days are the same. I enjoy the challenges that come along with this and find liaising with new clients a pleasure and natural progression from my previous role, running the busy reception at our HQ.

When you first joined the team, what where your goals & aspirations?

When I joined the company four years ago, I aspired to be a welcoming, helpful member of the team. I wanted to make visitors and staff feel totally at ease and ensure that visits went smoothly and professionally, whilst still being warm and personable. Being the ‘first face’ guests met, I wanted to ensure I set the tone and left visitors with a great first impression.

So what did you do before you joined us?

Before joining Kelling Group, I was an office manager for a GP practice.  With a team of receptionists, secretaries, and prescription clerks to juggle along with the GP’s, it could be challenging. I also have a few other strings to my bow including,  Barclays Deeds/Redemptions and mortgage arrears departments, flooring sales and GP’s receptionist. All very client-facing, people focussed roles.

Tell us a bit about your professional development here at Kelling..

I have the very trusted support of my fellow Internal Sales Manager, Daniel. He has been instrumental in my development within sales and continues to support my growth. We work as a team so he is always available to guide me through anything I am unsure of. Having already been with the company for almost four years, I already had a strong knowledge of our great products and services, but this is still growing; every day’s a school day.

So what is it like being part of ‘Team Kelling’?!

Working at Kelling Group is like having a very large extended family. We have great internal working relationships along with a great sense of trust in each other and our proposition. During my time in reception, I was very much the mother of the company. Looking after people has always been and will always be a priority for me though, so I thrive on it.

What do you like about what we do? What particularly resonates with you?

I love that as a responsible supplier, we are exploring every avenue to make our products as kind to the environment as possible. Using solar power, rainwater harvesting and smart telemetry systems, we can meet client needs whilst looking after the planet and keeping running costs low.

And what is your favourite thing about working here?

The best part of working here is the people, without a shadow of a doubt. From the board of directors to the cleaning staff, we are all in it together. We are all a very approachable bunch, sure we have quirks, but I think it’s great that we are all allowed to have personalities. The way that I have seen people grow within the company gave me the push to grow my own career path too. If there is potential to progress within the company, then it is picked up on and encouraged 100%. 

What do you get up to outside of work?

I like to relax as much as possible, travel and socialise with my family and friends. I can’t wait to start travelling more now that Covid restrictions are dissipating.

Go on – tell us something we don’t know about you!

My grandma starred in Kes, I am a qualified riding instructor and I once had champagne with Take That. I also had afternoon tea with Paul Young! 

Why Safety and Health at Work Is Essential to Construction

The construction sector employs over 3 million people in the UK¹. And every single one of them deserves to arrive at their worksite each morning knowing that their safety and health will be properly taken care of.

That is why World Day for Safety and Health at Work is so important to us. Each year, an average of seven workers die as a result of accidents involving vehicles on construction sites, and a further 93 are seriously injured²

We believe it is our responsibility to help put an end to this. At Kelling, we pride ourselves on not only providing market-leading Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms and Mobile Welfare Units – but truly partnering with our clients to create the best possible environment onsite.

In this article, we explore five key safety and health challenges construction and infrastructure projects face, as well as offering tips to reduce risk and keep workers safe.

Vehicle Mounted Access Platform Safety

1. Working from heights

The most common onsite safety risk is working from heights. It is responsible for nearly one third of all fatal onsite accidents³.

From unstable surfaces to incorrect use of ladders or overstretching, there are a number of risks to individuals working at heights. There is also the risk that workers will drop equipment from heights, which puts those on the ground in danger too.

The key to ensuring safety when working from heights is proper preparation. The UK government’s guidance is clear: management should assess risks; put in place safety equipment such as fall restraints and safety nets; and provide the most reliable access vehicles and equipment on the market.



2. Unpredictable conditions

Because most construction and infrastructure projects are undertaken outside, the physical conditions we face are a significant factor. From changing weather to sloping ground, there are a number of ways these conditions can create safety risks.

These are particularly important when working from heights. Before operating Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms or other access vehicles, operators should: assess the weather, to avoid strong winds and heavy rain; inspect the ground to ensure it is secure and there is plenty of space; and assess the surroundings to ensure there are no hazards, such as high cables.

Mobile Welfare Unit Drying Room

3. Visibility

It is easy for workers to unknowingly put themselves in danger if operations are not clear and communication is poor. Many accidents occur because personnel, vehicles or equipment are simply not visible enough. 

This is why high-visibility Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be mandatory at all times onsite. Leaders should go a step further, and ensure every vehicle features flashing beacons and rear chevrons – both of which are included as a standard on all Kelling Group vehicles.

Kelling Group Access Hire Maintenance

4. Malfunctioning equipment

The first three risks we’ve explored are directly within the control of onsite personnel. But another key risk to construction and infrastructure workers is malfunctioning, poorly maintained vehicles and equipment.

A single failure in a Vehicle Mounted Access Platform can result in serious dangers. Maintenance on these vehicles is costly and difficult to manage and remain compliant as they are a specialist piece of equipment. 

To create a truly safe onsite environment, vehicles and equipment must be more carefully maintained. This is why Kelling Group includes regular maintenance and 24/7 support on every vehicle we rent or lease – so no personnel ever have to question the safety of their equipment.

5. Hygiene and welfare

While physical safety is generally prioritised on construction and infrastructure sites, it’s important to recognise that health extends beyond merely avoiding accidents. Instead, it involves efforts to keep workers healthy and happy.

This is why quality mobile welfare units are essential on any truly safe site. From hot water basins and non-chemical, water-flush ceramic WCs to large, comfortable spaces for workers to relax and socialise in, our mobile welfare units are designed to ensure maximum hygiene and mental wellbeing onsite.

If you’d like to discover how Kelling Group can make your site safer and more profitable, reach out to our sales team today.


Future of Infrastructure 2022

DON’T MISS – Raconteur’s Future of Infrastructure 2022…

As featured in The Times on 23 March, the report examines the vital role and changing face of the UK’s infrastructure sector.

If you operate within the infrastructure space, we would highly recommend catching up on thought provoking publication – a must for anyone in the industry.

As a leading provider of specialist long-term hire and lease equipment to the UK infrastructure sector, we are proud to be playing our part by supporting the sector with our range of sustainable, market-leading solutions.

Our Access and Welfare Hire divisions are the UK’s leading providers of modern vehicle access and mobile ECO welfare and lighting units for the sector.

Supporting Tomorrow’s Infrastructure

Our exclusive ‘Kelling Guarantee’, which is driven by our five strategic pillars of Quality, Service, Environment, Wellbeing and Value, sets us apart in terms of client care and product excellence. This means our clients can depend on market-leading, modern, reliable vehicles and equipment at competitive rates, as well as exceptional service and nationwide customer support.

With regular annual investment of £25m-30m in our market-leading fleet, our aim is to set the standard within the industry for modern, innovative, eco-friendly specialist equipment hire. Quality-driven and with an ongoing emphasis on innovation and client care, we have grown to become one of the most respected long-term hire and lease providers in our sector.

Download The Full Report HERE.

How Businesses Can Respond to the Semiconductor Chip Shortages

Global semiconductor chip shortages have already had a disastrous impact for buyers, with prices rising by as much as 20%¹. But the problem is far from resolved.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has now further exacerbated shortages, which has led many manufacturers to close their order books – creating extremely long lead times for new vehicles.

How Russia’s war is worsening shortages

Russia’s attack on Ukraine has led to severe financial sanctions and new supply chain challenges. For semiconductor makers, it has disrupted the production and shipping of two vital manufacturing components. 

The first is Neon gas. Historically, it has been used to feed the lasers that print minute circuitry onto silicon. But around half the world’s semiconductor grade neon gas is produced by two Ukrainian companies and with the current situation, they have both halted operations – creating a sudden global shortage of the gas².

The second is metal palladium – a vital component in the later manufacturing stages of semiconductor chips. Roughly one third of the world’s palladium comes from Russia³, dealing another blow to the supply chain necessary for chips to be produced.

What effect will this have?

The consequences of the situation are already being felt. Within a week of Russia’s invasion, palladium prices hit an all-time high due to disrupted shipments. But this will only be the beginning. 

With supply chains disrupted and prices soaring, new vehicles are already in short supply and lead times are getting longer. As a result, we are seeing extortionate price hikes on used, unreliable vehicles which can be detrimental to businesses.

Contractors are likely feeling pressure to overspend in order to maintain an effective fleet. However, there is another way around the problem.

Access Hire at Kelling Group Logo

How Access Hire can help

Access Hire currently offers the UK’s largest fleet of Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms and other specialist vehicles. This means we are able to provide fully maintained Van Mounted and 4×4 Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) across the entire country – despite the ongoing semiconductor shortages.

Not only that: we are able to offer shorter lead times than other industry players, along with 24/7 support to ensure your vehicles function flawlessly. And if you are planning in advance, we offer long-term leasing – so you can lock in vehicles for future projects.  

So if you would like to reduce lead times and secure brand-new access vehicles, reach out to our sales team today.


Two Years On: How COVID-19 Has Changed Construction Sites For the Better

It will be several years until we fully understand the impact of COVID-19. But as construction continues to recover, we are starting to see the legacy of lockdown has had on the industry.

From increasing employee flexibility to a trend towards more innovative welfare units, there are a number of ways the pandemic has altered leaders’ priorities and preferences. And in this article, we explore three ways this has changed sites for the better.

1. Embracing technology

The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption across the vast majority of industries. But in construction – an industry historically resistant to change – the embrace of digital has had a very striking impact. 

From a boom in remote working to the implementation of project management software, lockdowns have forced construction firms to adapt. The Oxford Business Review argues that this will be a key part of future efforts to introduce younger workers and confront skills gaps¹.

The hope is it will galvanise greater investments in innovation moving forward. From Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms to mobile welfare units, there are a range of innovative products on the market which could radically improve construction sites.

2. Emphasis on employee welfare

According to HSE, stress, depression, & anxiety remains the second highest cause of work-related ill health within the construction industry.² This makes sense: the workplace is unusually dangerous, and most construction sites have historically been defined by stoicism and a lack of openness.

The pandemic has shed vital light on these issues. Employee health and wellbeing have become increasingly central to conversations about the workplace. And this will carry on well into the future. 

We expect to see increased flexibility for workers; more hygenic onsite facilities; increased welfare space for employee downtime; and greater efforts to tackle the stigma around mental health.

3. Collaboration and resilience

Perhaps more than anything, lockdowns have demonstrated to the construction industry just how quickly things can change. From the initial challenges of lockdown to the more recent supply chain crisis, businesses have had to be adaptable in ways previously unthinkable.

In many cases, the result has been heartening. We’ve seen an increase in collaboration, with many organisations sharing best practice on health and safety of the workforce and managing contractual disputes.³ 

It has also placed a renewed emphasis on trust and the importance of picking strong partners. Businesses are heavily reliant on their suppliers – from raw materials to welfare units. And in the wake of COVID-19, choosing partners that will genuinely support them has become a priority for many organisations.

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