A Larne renewable energy pioneer is to receive the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his services to the sector .
David Surplus is the Director of the Millbrook-based B9 Energy Group, which was the first renewable energy firm in Northern Ireland when it was founded 25 years ago.
He told the Larne Times that he was “shocked but pleased” to receive an OBE for services to renewable energy, especially in Northern Ireland.
“It was a complete shock, I found out at the end of May but I was told to keep it quiet so I only told my wife Angela,” he revealed.
“We were very pleased and we are looking forward to going to Buckingham Palace although we don’t know yet when it will be as they give you five weeks notice.”
B9 energy, which formed in 1992, established 10 commercial wind farm sites and now has 37 wind farm sites under contract.
The firm also developped the largest anaerobic digestion power station in Northern Ireland, which is able to divert 60,000 tons per annum of commercial and industrial organic waste from landfill.
It also runs initiatives in the areas of biomass, offshore wind, wave, tidal, energy storage, solar PV, micro-grids, district heating systems, landfill gas and sailing ships.
However, when David launched B9 Energy Group a quarter of a century ago, the public were totally unfamiliar with the concept of wind farms.
“We had to introduce the idea of windfarms. People had heard about climate change and they knew what they were for but we had to work hard in terms of the technical side with the planning authorities and everyone who didn’t know what the impact would be.
“We had to do a lot of extra work to evaluate the impact.
“I think people have become more accepting of windfarms, they know that there is a serious problem that needs solving and we should be trying to make use of renewable energy.
“I must also say that B9 Energy’s many achievements would not have been possible without my long-standing colleagues who have worked so hard for more than two decades to help establish and grow the renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland.
“I’m pleased that the award reflects the growing importance of renewable energy and hope it helps to raise awareness of the urgent tasks that remain ahead.
Paying tribute to his family, David added: “I am very proud and thrilled to have been given this honour and I would like to thank my wife Angela and our children Glen and Andrea for their support and understanding over the years.
Also honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list was Larne resident Samuel Malcolmson. Samuel received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for voluntary service to patients at Musgrave Park hospital.