Innovation and collaboration: inside Santander’s $190mn UK tech hub
Authorities have given the go-ahead for a new technology hub which is set to bring staff together and foster innovation at Santander.
A new UK technology hub for Santander will be developed in Milton Keynes, the company’s current UK headquarters where staff are at present spread across four offices. The operation is set to cost £150mn (US$187mn).
The building, designed by LOM and developed by Osborne & Co, will provide 5,000 workstations spread across 37,000 sq m of open plan office space. Natural light and a roof terrace should help boost productivity, while the hub will also play host to publicly accessible shops and cafes, which will help integrate the banking giant into the local community.
The addition of facilities for members of the public reflects Santander’s commitment to integrate itself within the local communities it serves. Speaking exclusively to Gigabit, CDO David Hayes said: “Communities are really important to us… Santander has targets to make sure everyone takes part in community work, be that abroad or locally.” In 2018 Hayes spent some time helping a local food bank, with most staff taking part in fundraising activities. “The motivation you get from making a real difference in your local area is great, and is very healthy for an organisation like Santander.”
In addition, coworking spaces will be an important feature. Prior to approval for the new facility, Santander revamped its existing Milton Keynes offices with colourful open spaces and well-lit breakout areas to promote collaboration and to reflect the bank’s culture as a decades-old institution which is still keeping up with a rapidly changing industry and workforce.
Work is set to begin in October and be completed in 2022, with developer Osborne & Co also working on the company’s new £75mn ($93mn) contact centre and operations hub in Bootle, which is set to house 2,500 staff.
Hayes called both sites “historic sites for Alliance and Leicester and Abbey National”, adding: “The UK bank is one of the biggest elements of the Santander group and we’re very committed to our UK base. We’ve got 14mn active customers here and over 20,000 staff in different parts of the organisation.”
Nick Roberts, Head of Property at Santander UK, said: “We’re really pleased that our plans to invest in a new state-of-the-art office campus have been approved by Milton Keynes Council. This is an exciting next step in the development of our flagship UK technology hub – giving our colleagues a cutting-edge working environment and reaffirming our long-term commitment and support for the local community.”
You can read more about Santander’s commitment to innovation in our company report.
Masdar, PT PLN begin work on floating PV solar project
UAE-based renewable energy company Masdar, in partnership with PT PLN, an organisation specialising in electrical power and owned by the Indonesian government, has announced today it has started work on a floating photovoltaic (PV) solar project in West Java. The company says the 145MW plant is the first of its kind in the country. The project, which will be constructed on the Cirata reservoir in West Java, was financed by the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Societe Generale, and Standard Chartered Bank.
Developing the project is PT Pembangkitan Jawa Bali Masdar Solar Energi (PMSE), a joint venture between Masdar and PT PLN subsidiary PT PJBI. Bahlil Lahadalia, Minister of Investment for the Republic of Indonesia and chairman of the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, said: “This is a flagship project of the UAE’s investment in Indonesia, and most importantly, it is in line with the Indonesian Government’s target to increase renewable energy by 23% by 2025.”
Ladhadalia added: “The Ministry of Investment fully supports the investment realisation of the Cirata Floating Solar Project by PT PJBI and Masdar.” The plant is said to be the largest in south-east Asia, and one of the biggest in the world. Around 800 jobs will be created during its construction phase.
During the project’s development, Masdar has conducted several social initiatives to raise awareness of sustainability and strengthen the engagement of the local community. Talking about the partnership with Masdar, Amir Faisal, president director of PJBI, said: “We see tremendous potential for similar projects in Indonesia and we look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration with Masdar to work on more renewable energy projects and help our nation achieve its clean energy objectives.
“This floating power project is a first for Indonesia and is also a significant step in PJBI’s renewable energy journey,” he added.
Facts about solar energy
- Solar power is the most abundant energy source on earth: There’s enough solar energy reaching the earth every hour to meet all of humanity’s power needs for a whole year.
- The cost of solar panels has fallen by 99% since 1977: The price per watt for a single solar cell in 1977 was US$77. Today that same cell costs Us$0.21 per watt US$0.39 per watt for an assembled module, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
- China is the global leader in solar energy: Whilst solar power is increasing in popularity in the US, China is currently the country with the biggest uptake. Research conducted by GTM in 2017 predicted that the US would install 12.4GW of solar power during that year. China, on the other hand, installed 24.4GW of power in the first half of 2017 alone.