What does your role entail?
The main purpose of my role is to help develop and expand Natural Power’s presence in the offshore wind market. I’m responsible for establishing a strategic approach to offshore wind for the business and expanding our product offering in the offshore market.
I’m also involved in client support activities, including providing project management and strategic and technical support for clients on a range of projects.
What does your day typically consist of?
As a relative newcomer to Natural Power, I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the different departments, the people that work in them and how they interact with each other. I started with Natural Power in April 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown so, like many others, I’ve been learning to work from home on a permanent basis. Having my two young children at home when I started presented its own set of challenges.
Natural Power perform a huge variety of activities on a wide range of projects across the project life cycle. It’s been great getting to understand these and to try to utilise our existing capabilities and experience to identify and develop new opportunities to support clients in offshore wind.
As well as engaging other parts of the business, I often speak with existing and potential new clients in the offshore wind sector, seeking to identify where and how Natural Power can support their activities and ambitions. I’m involved in a number of ongoing projects, too, which involve project management, collation of information from a range of sources, and engagement with third parties on behalf of clients, so I usually have plenty to do.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Natural Power works exclusively on renewable energy projects, which is a source of pride throughout the business, and I find extremely fulfilling. The staff at Natural Power are excellent, and I really enjoy having the opportunity to work alongside, and learn from, world class experts in their field. Coupled with this, our clients and projects are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is feasible.
Globally, offshore wind is in an exciting place at the moment with an opportunity to establish new industrial activity. It looks certain to play a major role in the global economic recovery. It’s great fun – I can’t think of an industry I’d rather be involved in.
How did you get into the role in the first place?
I undertook a graduate placement with a renewable energy developer straight from university, and after around 18 months I started to get involved in offshore wind. Since then I’ve been lucky to have worked for major offshore wind developers in various roles across the development and construction of some excellent offshore windfarms, giving me a useful perspective on the risks, priorities and working practices involved.
I was aware of Natural Power’s reputation for high quality work and advice, so the opportunity to help support and expand the company’s offshore wind focus was really appealing.
What is the most interesting project you have worked on and why?
Natural Power is supporting a number of clients in the upcoming Round 4 and Scotwind offshore wind tender rounds, and I’m directly involved in that. Due to advances in technology, these leasing rounds are a huge opportunity to develop projects in areas that were previously inaccessible which, in turn, provides unparalleled opportunity for generation of renewable energy.
A potential outcome from this is for the UK to develop manufacturing capability that could have major economic benefit. It’s fascinating to see the potential effects of the work we are involved in.
What is the main challenge facing the offshore wind sector?
A particular challenge facing offshore wind is to ensure related and supporting industries are sufficiently enabled to meet government and industry targets.
Grid infrastructure needs coordinated strategic investment to accommodate proposed and future offshore wind projects. This investment will have to be larger than we've seen before, and it needs a strong policy and regulatory framework. Industry participants also need to focus on this and make meaningful investment.
Other supply chain and supporting industries, such as ports for construction and operation activities, will also need similar new investment. This, in turn, requires a clear pipeline of work to be established. This growing industry expects to deliver many jobs. This will attract both new entrants into the industry and those retraining from other industries, so it's important that we seek to train staff in a responsible manner.
Natural Power has big ambitions in this area, and we are keen to play our part in securing and training the next generation of renewable energy recruits.
Any hidden talents?
I can play the bagpipes (badly).