What’s your role at Triodos Renewables?
I’ve worked at Triodos Renewables since 2012 as Operations Manager. My core role is to make sure our projects are running safely and profitably by generating as much renewable electricity as possible, to hopefully pay dividends for our shareholders (of which I’m one).
I’m based in Bristol but relish site trips to the far reaches of the country, catching up with local representatives and seeing our work in action. It’s important for me to understand the local lie of the land (proverbial and physical) and our sites are in pretty amazing places to visit. I’m never envious of friends making work trips to familiar-looking meeting rooms in busy city centres! Plus, it’s always fun finding small, independent hotels or B&Bs near our sites who benefit from overnight trips of wind farm technicians and visitors.
What’s a day in the life of Operations Manager like?
The day-to-day elements of my role are making sure the electrical / mechanical servicing and safety inspections are all up to date and responding quickly to any unexpected situations which come up. If it’s too windy then some of our planned work may need to be rescheduled so I look at weather forecasts from two angles now – if it’s warm and sunny then my cycle into the office will be more satisfying; but if it’s wet and windy then I’m glad to know our turbines will all be pumping out the power.
There’s a lot of variety in my role – which is important to me. I’ve had a real thrill from organising open days and greeting a really diverse range of visitors – school groups, families and neighbours; planning officials and engineers; shareholders, renewable energy-sceptics and even protestors (though they weren’t protesting about our wind farm!) People will step out of their car having driven from home and have to steady themselves or catch their breath in a huge gust of wind. It makes them realise the power there, waiting to be harnessed in the exposed, bracing sites we’ve chosen.
What do you love about Triodos Renewables?
I love the fact that we’re a small and dynamic team, with high aspirations but already delivering significant impact. The fact that sustainability underpins everything we do and that our values genuinely guide business decisions make Triodos Renewables, for me, an honestly great place to work.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
One of my proudest moments was filming a ‘virtual wind farm field trip’ with a class of buzzing local school children during Bristol’s year as European Green Capital in 2015. As a school governor myself, I know it’s incredibly powerful to support classroom learning with experiences away from the school environment. I’m thrilled with the film we made, which is now available to schools as a teaching resource nationwide - https://www.sustainablelearning.com/resource/best-bristol-virtual-fieldtrip-wind-energy
With two children myself, who will inherit the legacy of the energy mix we develop today, I embrace the concept of renewable energy. The government drastically changed its support for certain renewable technologies during 2015 – and did so abruptly, to the detriment of many people and businesses I know. I’m obviously glad that my job has not been affected and that Triodos Renewables has shown itself, in my mind, to be resilient and agile enough to respond quickly to unexpected political and commercial changes.
What’s your professional background?
Before Triodos Renewables I worked for seven years at a leading UK carbon reduction company, supporting delivery of advice and carbon reduction measures into sectors such as social housing, education and supply chain. I even project managed a team of volunteers to build a straw bale classroom! I’ve enjoyed applying (and developing) aptitudes in areas as diverse as health and safety, IT, project management, logistics and marketing. My friends – in work and out – would hopefully describe me as loyal, diligent and capable.
What do you do when you’re not at Triodos Renewables?
I love music, good food and the outdoors and sharing all of those with my family. My children look out for “Daddy’s windmills” on journeys and we even planned holidays in the last two years around my work trips to pretty nice locations. Wind turbines do alter the British scenery. But so much of our landscape is the result of farming, industry and planning heritage that I think energy provision is just part of this evolution. Technologies in this field are changing at pace and it’s thrilling to be involved in their delivery.