What does your day typically consist of?
On a typical day, I will be busy performing due diligence reviews of a wind or solar project – this means trawling through all the project documentation and identifying any risks that the potential lender or buyer should be aware of. For example, has a solar farm been experiencing major operational issues? Is it producing as much electricity as planned? Does the maintenance contract provide value for money? I’m based in London and on some days, I will also meet with clients (typically banks and investment funds) to discuss future business opportunities. Occasionally I even get to leave the City and visit the wind or solar farm I’m reviewing.
What do you enjoy mostabout your role?
I love the variety that Due Diligence projects bring – as a project manager, I rely on input from subject matter experts in anything from ecology to electrical engineering, as well as reviewing the core contracts and energy yield calculations myself, so I get a very holistic view of renewable energy projects. Every project is different and it’s always interesting to get to know a new client and understand their particular focus and approach.
How did you get in to the role in the first place?
I wanted to use my physics degree to tackle one of the biggest problems facing the planet – climate change. I worked for a leading independent wind and solar developer for a few years, focusing on R&D and energy yield modelling. The world of finance has always interested me and I joined Natural Power’s due diligence team to work in a more client facing capacity, and use my solar PV background to expand the team’s capabilities.
What is your degree and / or professional qualification?
BSc Physics and MSc Sustainable Energy Systems.
What is the most interesting type of work you have done and why?
I recently modelled the energy yield of four solar PV farms in France on behalf of a client who is developing some sites in highly complex terrain. Working out the impact of the uneven terrain on the position of the solar panels and the losses associated with shading from one row of panels to the next was a challenge, as standard software tools aren’t equipped to deal with this level of complexity. We are likely to see more and more development projects like this, since many of the simple sites are already taken.
What is your biggest achievement at work?
My biggest achievement is hopefully still to come! It’s an exciting time for the renewables industry, with more and more projects starting to compete with fossil fuels on a subsidy free basis and energy storage and flexibility becoming the next big thing. I would love to look back in a few decades’ time and feel like I’ve contributed to a radical transformation of our energy system.
Any hidden talents?
I don’t get to code as part of my day job very often anymore, but I’m a Python enthusiast and have dabbled in React and Angular.
What is your favourite hobby?
I love hiking and am constantly planning my next trip out of London to climb some mountains. Georgia and Tajikistan are currently at the top of my list.
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