Member Q&A: Gill Howard Larsen, Global Director of Due Diligence, Renewables, UL (formerly AWS Truepower)

For the latest in our series of member Q&As, we've spoken to Gil Howard-Larsen of UL (formerly AWS Truepower.) If you'd like to take part in a member Q&A, email us at editorial@awordaboutwind.com

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A Word About Wind
May 15, 2018
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This content is from our archive. Some formatting or links may be broken.
Member Q&A: Gill Howard Larsen, Global Director of Due Diligence, Renewables, UL (formerly AWS Truepower)

For the latest in our series of member Q&As, we've spoken to Gill Howard Larsen of UL (formerly AWS Truepower.) If you'd like to take part in a member Q&A, email us at editorial@awordaboutwind.com

A Word About Wind Member Q&A Gil Howard-Larsen

In simple terms, what does your company do?

In addition to the due diligence and lenders’ engineering aspects which I lead, we’ve got several other business segments in the renewables division of UL. AWS Truepower (now part of UL) started from the business of energy yield assessments: we have about half the market in America for these, and a significant amount of the market in many other regions globally.

We have developed proprietary software for wind and solar mapping and layouts, and developers can buy our software and use that for site selection and project layout. We also provide renewable power forecasting for the major grid balancing authorities in the US. California, Texas, and New York all use our services. In 2016 we were bought by UL and have now transitioned to the UL brand name.

On the testing and certification side of the business, UL also owns DEWI – headquartered in Germany - who certify and test wind turbines. In addition, we perform lifetime extension and operating asset technical advisory services, so we offer the full suite of technical services from project inception to end of life. We also provide solar and storage testing, certification and advisory services.

Of the deals you’ve worked on, which is your favourite and why?

One of the things about being an independent engineer is that you get to do due diligence on more deals than most of us have hot breakfasts. I spent my career prior to UL working for developer, owner, operators, and my husband and I also had our own development business for a few years so the projects I worked on would take 2-4 years to develop and finance; now, in independent engineering and due diligence technical advisory, UL is working on multiple deals a month. So the deal flow is huge.

In terms of which is my favourite, the first ones are always the most memorable! When I was a developer, the first wind project I worked on for M&A was a repowering in California – I was working in the UK at the time and was told the project was ready to close in 2 weeks. I flew out to California with a team of lawyers and we renegotiated every single project agreement, diligenced the permitting and real estate, negotiated the financing and acquisition agreements and after two months of working 18 hours a day, we closed financing and equity investment for the project.

Once we got into operations, all sorts of things went wrong: we had a serial gearbox failure, there were a number of factors which meant we didn’t meet the energy forecast, so we had to navigate our way through those with the operator and the manufacturer. It was a tremendous learning experience.

In which markets do you see the best opportunities right now?

We are still increasing our market share in North America, and growing in both wind and solar. With the PTC deadline for wind at the end of 2020, we expect the next 2.5 years to be very strong. The Latin American market is also very strong right now: Mexico, Argentina and Brazil are all extremely strong. In Europe, we’re seeing Turkey as a strong market: we recently were selected to work for the lenders on a very large greenfield portfolio financing.

We’re also active in France, the Ukraine and South Africa. India last year was very quiet due to the new market structure, but this year we’re seeing a lot of activity and M&A work there. In China we’ve recently established a team for due diligence and energy work.

What is the biggest challenge facing wind and how would you fix it?

The challenge is getting the cost to the right place, and there always will be challenges in the areas of permitting and ensuring community acceptance, especially in areas which are densely populated. However, I think the biggest opportunity is the fact that costs are really coming down in terms of the cost at which we can deliver power- turbines are getting larger, towers are getting taller and rotor diameters are getting larger, and all of that means that not only can turbines produce more energy but manufacturers are reducing their CAPEX prices as well as their OPEX prices.

We’ve seen some very significant price reductions in the last eighteen months in CAPEX and OPEX. Some of that is a result of competition between OEM’s, but it’s also a result of pushing the envelope on engineering, improving the development and supply chain, and improving operability. A lot of maintenance and major component repairs that could previously only be done downtower, can now be done uptower. Some of this has been a response to competition from solar, with rapidly reducing solar prices.

Which trends will affect the wind sector most in the next 5-10 years?

I think the pricing is critical – we will continue to scale, markets are going to continue to grow although there is always political risk, and storage will be critical for wind and solar. Storage will be a game-changer, not just in developed countries but in developing countries with weaker grids and less centralised systems. Again, it’s about getting storage to the right price point, but we’re seeing things moving there – lots of large utilities are funding storage systems on balance sheet to get experience with the technology, and storage will have an important role to play in load shifting to release the power generated by renewables to the times of day we need it the most, and in grid support

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during your career?

There have been lots! I started in energy when I was 22, straight out of university, and moved to wind and renewables about 6 years later and have been doing this ever since. I just had my 20-year anniversary in wind. I think really enjoying what you’re doing and having a passion for it goes a long way.

There have been many times in my career when I’ve got ahead of myself, fallen flat on my face and had to pick myself up, figure out what went wrong and ask for help. Building relationships is really important: we all need other people to work with as none of us can be successful on our own, and it’s really satisfying and motivating to work with great people and a great team.

Do you have a mentor and what did they teach you?

I’ve learned a lot of things from different people. I started in the industry because my father ran a coal-fired cogeneration plant in Derby. Growing up, the things we would hear at the kitchen table as children in terms of managing people, managing operations and maintenance, everyday problems and troubleshooting, were things all things which have come in useful in this job.

In my first job, I had a really great boss who was an extremely hard worker and had a very balanced view of things and always found solutions to problems. He was definitely very influential, though there have been many people along the way. I think the longer I’ve been working, the more I see things that have had a lot of influence on me that earlier in my career I never recognised. It is definitely a journey.

For the latest in our series of member Q&As, we've spoken to Gill Howard Larsen of UL (formerly AWS Truepower.) If you'd like to take part in a member Q&A, email us at editorial@awordaboutwind.com

A Word About Wind Member Q&A Gil Howard-Larsen

In simple terms, what does your company do?

In addition to the due diligence and lenders’ engineering aspects which I lead, we’ve got several other business segments in the renewables division of UL. AWS Truepower (now part of UL) started from the business of energy yield assessments: we have about half the market in America for these, and a significant amount of the market in many other regions globally.

We have developed proprietary software for wind and solar mapping and layouts, and developers can buy our software and use that for site selection and project layout. We also provide renewable power forecasting for the major grid balancing authorities in the US. California, Texas, and New York all use our services. In 2016 we were bought by UL and have now transitioned to the UL brand name.

On the testing and certification side of the business, UL also owns DEWI – headquartered in Germany - who certify and test wind turbines. In addition, we perform lifetime extension and operating asset technical advisory services, so we offer the full suite of technical services from project inception to end of life. We also provide solar and storage testing, certification and advisory services.

Of the deals you’ve worked on, which is your favourite and why?

One of the things about being an independent engineer is that you get to do due diligence on more deals than most of us have hot breakfasts. I spent my career prior to UL working for developer, owner, operators, and my husband and I also had our own development business for a few years so the projects I worked on would take 2-4 years to develop and finance; now, in independent engineering and due diligence technical advisory, UL is working on multiple deals a month. So the deal flow is huge.

In terms of which is my favourite, the first ones are always the most memorable! When I was a developer, the first wind project I worked on for M&A was a repowering in California – I was working in the UK at the time and was told the project was ready to close in 2 weeks. I flew out to California with a team of lawyers and we renegotiated every single project agreement, diligenced the permitting and real estate, negotiated the financing and acquisition agreements and after two months of working 18 hours a day, we closed financing and equity investment for the project.

Once we got into operations, all sorts of things went wrong: we had a serial gearbox failure, there were a number of factors which meant we didn’t meet the energy forecast, so we had to navigate our way through those with the operator and the manufacturer. It was a tremendous learning experience.

In which markets do you see the best opportunities right now?

We are still increasing our market share in North America, and growing in both wind and solar. With the PTC deadline for wind at the end of 2020, we expect the next 2.5 years to be very strong. The Latin American market is also very strong right now: Mexico, Argentina and Brazil are all extremely strong. In Europe, we’re seeing Turkey as a strong market: we recently were selected to work for the lenders on a very large greenfield portfolio financing.

We’re also active in France, the Ukraine and South Africa. India last year was very quiet due to the new market structure, but this year we’re seeing a lot of activity and M&A work there. In China we’ve recently established a team for due diligence and energy work.

What is the biggest challenge facing wind and how would you fix it?

The challenge is getting the cost to the right place, and there always will be challenges in the areas of permitting and ensuring community acceptance, especially in areas which are densely populated. However, I think the biggest opportunity is the fact that costs are really coming down in terms of the cost at which we can deliver power- turbines are getting larger, towers are getting taller and rotor diameters are getting larger, and all of that means that not only can turbines produce more energy but manufacturers are reducing their CAPEX prices as well as their OPEX prices.

We’ve seen some very significant price reductions in the last eighteen months in CAPEX and OPEX. Some of that is a result of competition between OEM’s, but it’s also a result of pushing the envelope on engineering, improving the development and supply chain, and improving operability. A lot of maintenance and major component repairs that could previously only be done downtower, can now be done uptower. Some of this has been a response to competition from solar, with rapidly reducing solar prices.

Which trends will affect the wind sector most in the next 5-10 years?

I think the pricing is critical – we will continue to scale, markets are going to continue to grow although there is always political risk, and storage will be critical for wind and solar. Storage will be a game-changer, not just in developed countries but in developing countries with weaker grids and less centralised systems. Again, it’s about getting storage to the right price point, but we’re seeing things moving there – lots of large utilities are funding storage systems on balance sheet to get experience with the technology, and storage will have an important role to play in load shifting to release the power generated by renewables to the times of day we need it the most, and in grid support

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during your career?

There have been lots! I started in energy when I was 22, straight out of university, and moved to wind and renewables about 6 years later and have been doing this ever since. I just had my 20-year anniversary in wind. I think really enjoying what you’re doing and having a passion for it goes a long way.

There have been many times in my career when I’ve got ahead of myself, fallen flat on my face and had to pick myself up, figure out what went wrong and ask for help. Building relationships is really important: we all need other people to work with as none of us can be successful on our own, and it’s really satisfying and motivating to work with great people and a great team.

Do you have a mentor and what did they teach you?

I’ve learned a lot of things from different people. I started in the industry because my father ran a coal-fired cogeneration plant in Derby. Growing up, the things we would hear at the kitchen table as children in terms of managing people, managing operations and maintenance, everyday problems and troubleshooting, were things all things which have come in useful in this job.

In my first job, I had a really great boss who was an extremely hard worker and had a very balanced view of things and always found solutions to problems. He was definitely very influential, though there have been many people along the way. I think the longer I’ve been working, the more I see things that have had a lot of influence on me that earlier in my career I never recognised. It is definitely a journey.

For the latest in our series of member Q&As, we've spoken to Gill Howard Larsen of UL (formerly AWS Truepower.) If you'd like to take part in a member Q&A, email us at editorial@awordaboutwind.com

A Word About Wind Member Q&A Gil Howard-Larsen

In simple terms, what does your company do?

In addition to the due diligence and lenders’ engineering aspects which I lead, we’ve got several other business segments in the renewables division of UL. AWS Truepower (now part of UL) started from the business of energy yield assessments: we have about half the market in America for these, and a significant amount of the market in many other regions globally.

We have developed proprietary software for wind and solar mapping and layouts, and developers can buy our software and use that for site selection and project layout. We also provide renewable power forecasting for the major grid balancing authorities in the US. California, Texas, and New York all use our services. In 2016 we were bought by UL and have now transitioned to the UL brand name.

On the testing and certification side of the business, UL also owns DEWI – headquartered in Germany - who certify and test wind turbines. In addition, we perform lifetime extension and operating asset technical advisory services, so we offer the full suite of technical services from project inception to end of life. We also provide solar and storage testing, certification and advisory services.

Of the deals you’ve worked on, which is your favourite and why?

One of the things about being an independent engineer is that you get to do due diligence on more deals than most of us have hot breakfasts. I spent my career prior to UL working for developer, owner, operators, and my husband and I also had our own development business for a few years so the projects I worked on would take 2-4 years to develop and finance; now, in independent engineering and due diligence technical advisory, UL is working on multiple deals a month. So the deal flow is huge.

In terms of which is my favourite, the first ones are always the most memorable! When I was a developer, the first wind project I worked on for M&A was a repowering in California – I was working in the UK at the time and was told the project was ready to close in 2 weeks. I flew out to California with a team of lawyers and we renegotiated every single project agreement, diligenced the permitting and real estate, negotiated the financing and acquisition agreements and after two months of working 18 hours a day, we closed financing and equity investment for the project.

Once we got into operations, all sorts of things went wrong: we had a serial gearbox failure, there were a number of factors which meant we didn’t meet the energy forecast, so we had to navigate our way through those with the operator and the manufacturer. It was a tremendous learning experience.

In which markets do you see the best opportunities right now?

We are still increasing our market share in North America, and growing in both wind and solar. With the PTC deadline for wind at the end of 2020, we expect the next 2.5 years to be very strong. The Latin American market is also very strong right now: Mexico, Argentina and Brazil are all extremely strong. In Europe, we’re seeing Turkey as a strong market: we recently were selected to work for the lenders on a very large greenfield portfolio financing.

We’re also active in France, the Ukraine and South Africa. India last year was very quiet due to the new market structure, but this year we’re seeing a lot of activity and M&A work there. In China we’ve recently established a team for due diligence and energy work.

What is the biggest challenge facing wind and how would you fix it?

The challenge is getting the cost to the right place, and there always will be challenges in the areas of permitting and ensuring community acceptance, especially in areas which are densely populated. However, I think the biggest opportunity is the fact that costs are really coming down in terms of the cost at which we can deliver power- turbines are getting larger, towers are getting taller and rotor diameters are getting larger, and all of that means that not only can turbines produce more energy but manufacturers are reducing their CAPEX prices as well as their OPEX prices.

We’ve seen some very significant price reductions in the last eighteen months in CAPEX and OPEX. Some of that is a result of competition between OEM’s, but it’s also a result of pushing the envelope on engineering, improving the development and supply chain, and improving operability. A lot of maintenance and major component repairs that could previously only be done downtower, can now be done uptower. Some of this has been a response to competition from solar, with rapidly reducing solar prices.

Which trends will affect the wind sector most in the next 5-10 years?

I think the pricing is critical – we will continue to scale, markets are going to continue to grow although there is always political risk, and storage will be critical for wind and solar. Storage will be a game-changer, not just in developed countries but in developing countries with weaker grids and less centralised systems. Again, it’s about getting storage to the right price point, but we’re seeing things moving there – lots of large utilities are funding storage systems on balance sheet to get experience with the technology, and storage will have an important role to play in load shifting to release the power generated by renewables to the times of day we need it the most, and in grid support

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during your career?

There have been lots! I started in energy when I was 22, straight out of university, and moved to wind and renewables about 6 years later and have been doing this ever since. I just had my 20-year anniversary in wind. I think really enjoying what you’re doing and having a passion for it goes a long way.

There have been many times in my career when I’ve got ahead of myself, fallen flat on my face and had to pick myself up, figure out what went wrong and ask for help. Building relationships is really important: we all need other people to work with as none of us can be successful on our own, and it’s really satisfying and motivating to work with great people and a great team.

Do you have a mentor and what did they teach you?

I’ve learned a lot of things from different people. I started in the industry because my father ran a coal-fired cogeneration plant in Derby. Growing up, the things we would hear at the kitchen table as children in terms of managing people, managing operations and maintenance, everyday problems and troubleshooting, were things all things which have come in useful in this job.

In my first job, I had a really great boss who was an extremely hard worker and had a very balanced view of things and always found solutions to problems. He was definitely very influential, though there have been many people along the way. I think the longer I’ve been working, the more I see things that have had a lot of influence on me that earlier in my career I never recognised. It is definitely a journey.

For the latest in our series of member Q&As, we've spoken to Gill Howard Larsen of UL (formerly AWS Truepower.) If you'd like to take part in a member Q&A, email us at editorial@awordaboutwind.com

A Word About Wind Member Q&A Gil Howard-Larsen

In simple terms, what does your company do?

In addition to the due diligence and lenders’ engineering aspects which I lead, we’ve got several other business segments in the renewables division of UL. AWS Truepower (now part of UL) started from the business of energy yield assessments: we have about half the market in America for these, and a significant amount of the market in many other regions globally.

We have developed proprietary software for wind and solar mapping and layouts, and developers can buy our software and use that for site selection and project layout. We also provide renewable power forecasting for the major grid balancing authorities in the US. California, Texas, and New York all use our services. In 2016 we were bought by UL and have now transitioned to the UL brand name.

On the testing and certification side of the business, UL also owns DEWI – headquartered in Germany - who certify and test wind turbines. In addition, we perform lifetime extension and operating asset technical advisory services, so we offer the full suite of technical services from project inception to end of life. We also provide solar and storage testing, certification and advisory services.

Of the deals you’ve worked on, which is your favourite and why?

One of the things about being an independent engineer is that you get to do due diligence on more deals than most of us have hot breakfasts. I spent my career prior to UL working for developer, owner, operators, and my husband and I also had our own development business for a few years so the projects I worked on would take 2-4 years to develop and finance; now, in independent engineering and due diligence technical advisory, UL is working on multiple deals a month. So the deal flow is huge.

In terms of which is my favourite, the first ones are always the most memorable! When I was a developer, the first wind project I worked on for M&A was a repowering in California – I was working in the UK at the time and was told the project was ready to close in 2 weeks. I flew out to California with a team of lawyers and we renegotiated every single project agreement, diligenced the permitting and real estate, negotiated the financing and acquisition agreements and after two months of working 18 hours a day, we closed financing and equity investment for the project.

Once we got into operations, all sorts of things went wrong: we had a serial gearbox failure, there were a number of factors which meant we didn’t meet the energy forecast, so we had to navigate our way through those with the operator and the manufacturer. It was a tremendous learning experience.

In which markets do you see the best opportunities right now?

We are still increasing our market share in North America, and growing in both wind and solar. With the PTC deadline for wind at the end of 2020, we expect the next 2.5 years to be very strong. The Latin American market is also very strong right now: Mexico, Argentina and Brazil are all extremely strong. In Europe, we’re seeing Turkey as a strong market: we recently were selected to work for the lenders on a very large greenfield portfolio financing.

We’re also active in France, the Ukraine and South Africa. India last year was very quiet due to the new market structure, but this year we’re seeing a lot of activity and M&A work there. In China we’ve recently established a team for due diligence and energy work.

What is the biggest challenge facing wind and how would you fix it?

The challenge is getting the cost to the right place, and there always will be challenges in the areas of permitting and ensuring community acceptance, especially in areas which are densely populated. However, I think the biggest opportunity is the fact that costs are really coming down in terms of the cost at which we can deliver power- turbines are getting larger, towers are getting taller and rotor diameters are getting larger, and all of that means that not only can turbines produce more energy but manufacturers are reducing their CAPEX prices as well as their OPEX prices.

We’ve seen some very significant price reductions in the last eighteen months in CAPEX and OPEX. Some of that is a result of competition between OEM’s, but it’s also a result of pushing the envelope on engineering, improving the development and supply chain, and improving operability. A lot of maintenance and major component repairs that could previously only be done downtower, can now be done uptower. Some of this has been a response to competition from solar, with rapidly reducing solar prices.

Which trends will affect the wind sector most in the next 5-10 years?

I think the pricing is critical – we will continue to scale, markets are going to continue to grow although there is always political risk, and storage will be critical for wind and solar. Storage will be a game-changer, not just in developed countries but in developing countries with weaker grids and less centralised systems. Again, it’s about getting storage to the right price point, but we’re seeing things moving there – lots of large utilities are funding storage systems on balance sheet to get experience with the technology, and storage will have an important role to play in load shifting to release the power generated by renewables to the times of day we need it the most, and in grid support

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during your career?

There have been lots! I started in energy when I was 22, straight out of university, and moved to wind and renewables about 6 years later and have been doing this ever since. I just had my 20-year anniversary in wind. I think really enjoying what you’re doing and having a passion for it goes a long way.

There have been many times in my career when I’ve got ahead of myself, fallen flat on my face and had to pick myself up, figure out what went wrong and ask for help. Building relationships is really important: we all need other people to work with as none of us can be successful on our own, and it’s really satisfying and motivating to work with great people and a great team.

Do you have a mentor and what did they teach you?

I’ve learned a lot of things from different people. I started in the industry because my father ran a coal-fired cogeneration plant in Derby. Growing up, the things we would hear at the kitchen table as children in terms of managing people, managing operations and maintenance, everyday problems and troubleshooting, were things all things which have come in useful in this job.

In my first job, I had a really great boss who was an extremely hard worker and had a very balanced view of things and always found solutions to problems. He was definitely very influential, though there have been many people along the way. I think the longer I’ve been working, the more I see things that have had a lot of influence on me that earlier in my career I never recognised. It is definitely a journey.

For the latest in our series of member Q&As, we've spoken to Gill Howard Larsen of UL (formerly AWS Truepower.) If you'd like to take part in a member Q&A, email us at editorial@awordaboutwind.com

A Word About Wind Member Q&A Gil Howard-Larsen

In simple terms, what does your company do?

In addition to the due diligence and lenders’ engineering aspects which I lead, we’ve got several other business segments in the renewables division of UL. AWS Truepower (now part of UL) started from the business of energy yield assessments: we have about half the market in America for these, and a significant amount of the market in many other regions globally.

We have developed proprietary software for wind and solar mapping and layouts, and developers can buy our software and use that for site selection and project layout. We also provide renewable power forecasting for the major grid balancing authorities in the US. California, Texas, and New York all use our services. In 2016 we were bought by UL and have now transitioned to the UL brand name.

On the testing and certification side of the business, UL also owns DEWI – headquartered in Germany - who certify and test wind turbines. In addition, we perform lifetime extension and operating asset technical advisory services, so we offer the full suite of technical services from project inception to end of life. We also provide solar and storage testing, certification and advisory services.

Of the deals you’ve worked on, which is your favourite and why?

One of the things about being an independent engineer is that you get to do due diligence on more deals than most of us have hot breakfasts. I spent my career prior to UL working for developer, owner, operators, and my husband and I also had our own development business for a few years so the projects I worked on would take 2-4 years to develop and finance; now, in independent engineering and due diligence technical advisory, UL is working on multiple deals a month. So the deal flow is huge.

In terms of which is my favourite, the first ones are always the most memorable! When I was a developer, the first wind project I worked on for M&A was a repowering in California – I was working in the UK at the time and was told the project was ready to close in 2 weeks. I flew out to California with a team of lawyers and we renegotiated every single project agreement, diligenced the permitting and real estate, negotiated the financing and acquisition agreements and after two months of working 18 hours a day, we closed financing and equity investment for the project.

Once we got into operations, all sorts of things went wrong: we had a serial gearbox failure, there were a number of factors which meant we didn’t meet the energy forecast, so we had to navigate our way through those with the operator and the manufacturer. It was a tremendous learning experience.

In which markets do you see the best opportunities right now?

We are still increasing our market share in North America, and growing in both wind and solar. With the PTC deadline for wind at the end of 2020, we expect the next 2.5 years to be very strong. The Latin American market is also very strong right now: Mexico, Argentina and Brazil are all extremely strong. In Europe, we’re seeing Turkey as a strong market: we recently were selected to work for the lenders on a very large greenfield portfolio financing.

We’re also active in France, the Ukraine and South Africa. India last year was very quiet due to the new market structure, but this year we’re seeing a lot of activity and M&A work there. In China we’ve recently established a team for due diligence and energy work.

What is the biggest challenge facing wind and how would you fix it?

The challenge is getting the cost to the right place, and there always will be challenges in the areas of permitting and ensuring community acceptance, especially in areas which are densely populated. However, I think the biggest opportunity is the fact that costs are really coming down in terms of the cost at which we can deliver power- turbines are getting larger, towers are getting taller and rotor diameters are getting larger, and all of that means that not only can turbines produce more energy but manufacturers are reducing their CAPEX prices as well as their OPEX prices.

We’ve seen some very significant price reductions in the last eighteen months in CAPEX and OPEX. Some of that is a result of competition between OEM’s, but it’s also a result of pushing the envelope on engineering, improving the development and supply chain, and improving operability. A lot of maintenance and major component repairs that could previously only be done downtower, can now be done uptower. Some of this has been a response to competition from solar, with rapidly reducing solar prices.

Which trends will affect the wind sector most in the next 5-10 years?

I think the pricing is critical – we will continue to scale, markets are going to continue to grow although there is always political risk, and storage will be critical for wind and solar. Storage will be a game-changer, not just in developed countries but in developing countries with weaker grids and less centralised systems. Again, it’s about getting storage to the right price point, but we’re seeing things moving there – lots of large utilities are funding storage systems on balance sheet to get experience with the technology, and storage will have an important role to play in load shifting to release the power generated by renewables to the times of day we need it the most, and in grid support

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during your career?

There have been lots! I started in energy when I was 22, straight out of university, and moved to wind and renewables about 6 years later and have been doing this ever since. I just had my 20-year anniversary in wind. I think really enjoying what you’re doing and having a passion for it goes a long way.

There have been many times in my career when I’ve got ahead of myself, fallen flat on my face and had to pick myself up, figure out what went wrong and ask for help. Building relationships is really important: we all need other people to work with as none of us can be successful on our own, and it’s really satisfying and motivating to work with great people and a great team.

Do you have a mentor and what did they teach you?

I’ve learned a lot of things from different people. I started in the industry because my father ran a coal-fired cogeneration plant in Derby. Growing up, the things we would hear at the kitchen table as children in terms of managing people, managing operations and maintenance, everyday problems and troubleshooting, were things all things which have come in useful in this job.

In my first job, I had a really great boss who was an extremely hard worker and had a very balanced view of things and always found solutions to problems. He was definitely very influential, though there have been many people along the way. I think the longer I’ve been working, the more I see things that have had a lot of influence on me that earlier in my career I never recognised. It is definitely a journey.

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Full archive access is available to members only

Not a member yet?

Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.