I started with GreenPower in March 2010 on a 6 month maternity cover temporary contract in an admin position, very excited to work for a company that was making a real and positive difference to the climate and environment.
Fast forward 10 years and I’m still thrilled to be working for GreenPower and am now experienced in GIS and project development. Over that decade I have seen incredible progress in driving forward renewables.
My route to my job today was, like many people, an indirect one, and I hope my story can inspire others to keep faith in aiming for the job that you really want to do. Thankfully a woman in renewables is not unusual nowadays, but there’s a lot of room for a lot more!
I studied biology at university where I really developed my interest in environmental science. However, on a needs must basis, after leaving university I ended up in a retail job instead. I progressed to management and buying but I became increasingly dismayed at the waste within certain areas, the consume and discard mindset and the damage it caused it to the environment; I became desperate to do something that would be far more meaningful and beneficial. Redundancy was the best thing that ever happened.
Through volunteering with British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (now TCV) while unemployed and pushing forward my interest in the environment through my own study with the Open University I secured a temporary contract within SEPA for 7 months. Drastic funding cuts killed my dream of furthering my career there, but every cloud has a silver lining. I joined GreenPower.
GreenPower quickly recognised my interest in the project development side of the company and my love of maps. Within a year my contract had been made permanent and I was now working in GIS and supporting the project development team in developing new onshore wind and hydro projects. It was an exciting time with the rush to develop and construct FiTs projects, seeing our 46MW Carraig Gheal Wind Farm being built and being involved in the planning and construction of our Carie hydro project on the shores of Loch Rannoch. The company expanded and the learning curve was steep but with such a dedicated team all striving towards the same goal of bringing these projects to fruition and contributing towards the fight against climate change, job and personal satisfaction on doing something really worthwhile was where I hadn’t imagined it could be in my previous work.
The UK Government decision to suddenly halt support for onshore renewables market incentives brought worrying times. Onshore wind development in England was no longer a viable option and it felt difficult to progress in Scotland. It seemed that time hadn’t been allowed for the industry to evolve as the only form of ANY energy generation without any form of market support, even though it was the cheapest. It seemed crazy to me that something so crucial to working towards a cleaner way of producing electricity had essentially been halted in its tracks.
However, GreenPower’s tenacity and determination to carry on forward, Rob’s election to the Chair of Scottish Renewables and the completion on time of our Drumduff Wind Farm in joint venture with Thrive Renewables gave me hope. Now we are building up the company to make even more of a contribution to the declared Climate Emergency and it is exciting to be in the team working on that.
I have had so many memorable days. The open day for the Drumduff Wind Farm in September 2018 was amazing. More people than we had predicted arrived and nearly all with children who were so enthusiastic in talking to us and telling us about their excitement at being able to see inside a turbine. I was assured many times this was by far the best bit. Families who had intended to come for an hour or so ended up spending all afternoon onsite, fascinated by learning about the wind farm and delighted that we were engaging with them and inviting them to see what was on their doorstep. The overwhelming message of the day was one of support, positivity and bringing renewables and clean energy to the next generation who were thrilled to be involved.
It’s been so inspiring to see this determination by young people to bring climate change to the forefront of political debate and a GreenPower delegation to join the Climate Strike demonstration at Stirling Council HQ in September last year really bought this home.
Through GreenPower’s continued support of my own development, diversifying into new areas of clean energy generation and the desire to drive forward a green recovery from the current pandemic, it feels as if there is potential for a new dawn within the renewables industry.
I feel proud to be working for GreenPower not just in developing renewables projects to help tackle climate change and to fight the climate emergency, but also as a strong independent company determined to forge the way in making positive changes for the industry and the country. It’s great to be part of this and to feel that we are all making a real difference.