life at natural power

Alan Steele

Site manager

How long have you worked for Natural Power? 

I started with Natural Power in November of 2013 so just shy of my ten-year anniversary after 23 years in the Royal Navy which I joined when I was 17 and spent almost all my career on Nuclear Hunter Killer Submarines, more specifically Swiftsure class SSN’s (Ship Submerged Nuclear.) 


What prompted the move from the Control Centre to site manager? 

I started in the Control Centre (CC) as an operational controller mainly dealing with onshore wind projects, when the business moved into the OFTO sector (Offshore projects) I trained to become authorised to conduct HV switching and to become a Control Point technician which involves lot of liaising with the NGESO, something I enjoyed because it gives you a much wider appreciation of electrical generation and control across the UK. I then became a Team Leader and eventually the Control Point team leader to a team of around 6 Control Point technicians. Recent Frodsham Shunt Reactor (MRPL) and Battery Energy storage site projects which involved a lot of HV switching confirmed to me that I wanted to go down the site manager route with the goal of becoming authorised as a Natural Power SAP (Senior Authorised Person), effectively a move from remote operations in the CC to a hands-on, field operations role within the asset management team. 


What are you enjoying about your new role?  

In my new role I am given a lot of autonomy to run the projects I am tasked with, having said that there is always a vast amount of knowledge and expertise from colleagues to fall back on and the Central Scotland Team and indeed other regions are always willing to provide support. A key part of my, so far smooth transition from the CC has been the support provided from colleagues in all parts of the business.  


Are there any challenging elements of your new role?  

One of the things I have found challenging is the separation from colleagues and the team in the CC. I now spend a considerable part of my working week without face-to-face interaction with colleagues whilst working from home or onsite, which for most of the CC team is something we didn’t do during the Covid 19 pandemic as we had to keep the CC manned whilst most of the business transitioned to WFH or a hybrid version. Having said that our team is close, and the camaraderie is evident. I do feel that my experience in the control centre has given me a head start as a site manager. Also, the amount of training and studying required on my route to authorisation as an SAP, whilst ensuring that the site manager role is fulfilled is heavy but enjoyable.