Senior Offshore Wind Advisor (Evidence & Data)
Marine Management Organisation
My favourite things about offshore wind are the rapid pace of it, the changes going on in technology and policy - this makes it constantly fresh and exciting. Also the diversity of people I work with... marine biologists, engineers, lawyers... we're all working together on a shared mission to net zero.
My background is in mathematics - I did a PhD looking at coastal ocean currents and how these were affected by geography and the local environmental conditions, and then how they might change in the future under climate change.
After finishing my PhD, I wanted to kind of use those scientific skills that I developed and take them into kind of a more tangible area, and being kind of interested in climate change, renewable energy seemed like a really obvious place to go. Not having that engineering background, for me I was drawn to the policy aspect of it. I've been in this role looking at kind of strategic issues to do with offshore wind consenting ever since, and yeah I really enjoy it I can't see myself moving out of offshore wind at anytime soon!
In terms of my day job, I work for the Marine management organization. We enforce and manage consent for offshore wind and I sit within our strategic renewables unit, who provides support to case teams for any issues that might come up with those consents. This is particularly within those consents that could be new issues, precedent setting issues, or anything that's complex or might affect lots of wind farms at the same time. We'll provide support to those teams, and my role is to be the kind of interface between those teams on the ground and the kind of policy changes and decisions that are happening in government as well. My role specifically within that team is looking at the evidence and the data that underpins those decisions. It might involve commissioning research projects, looking for funding for research projects and then once those projects are finished. making sure that our case teams are aware of them and that they're using them in their day-to-day work.
In terms of technical skills for my role, it's about being able to pick up a piece of science or a piece of evidence and analyze it critically. It's all about teamwork - you've got to bring people together from a wide range of different backgrounds, and you've got to be able to facilitate that collaborative environment where everyone can bring their own perspective and everyone can feel heard. You can kind of work through those different perspectives to get to an unbiased decision.
Some of the challenges that you face working in the sector are the pace of it. But it's exciting too - offshore wind is moving very fast, technology is constantly changing, so there's always new things that you need to be aware of.
Something that I was involved in recently that I'm very proud to been involved with was a piece of work looking at novel and interesting uses for offshore wind. So for example, using offshore wind to power an oil rig, or combining offshore wind and hydrogen production. That was an interesting piece of work because we were putting together a handbook of what different regulations applied to these kind of complex cases, what consents would be needed - it was interesting because you were bringing together lots of people from different areas, learning lots about new technologies that I've not encounted before. It was kind of like putting together a puzzle to figure out the the road map to build some of these interesting new technologies.
So my favorite things about working in offshore wind are the the pace of it- the kind of rapid changes going on in technology and policy makes it constantly fresh and really exciting. There's also the diversity of people that I work with. So I work day-to-day with marine biologists, engineers, lawyers... there's really this big team of people, all working together for our shared mission of delivering Net Zero.
I think the advice that I've been given which I would definitely share with anyone is that offshore wind needs something from everyone. It doesn't really matter what your educational background is - where your interests are, there will likely be a role in offshore wind for you.