New renewables generation steps up to inspire at awards ceremony

AMID the swish of the kilts, the twirl of the gowns and awkwardness of nerves there was something else stirring at the Scottish Renewables gathering in Glasgow. Something, special. 

A couple of hundred people assembled in all their finery for the Young Professionals Green Energy Awards 2018. And as impressive as that was, there was something even more stand out.

The realisation that every one of them could have a role in helping to save the planet. 

Innovation, we were told in the starting speeches, was key to what Scottish Renewables and its friends, partners and colleagues are doing.

Thinking differently. Wisely. Believing that yes, anything is possible.

From catching the wind to harnessing the sea and embracing the sun, this was a room full of people who dare to think not if, but how?

A generation who obsess about how to do something, not shaking their heads saying it can’t be done.

And in the conversations, the camaraderie – the stories told at the awards hosted by award-winning broadcaster David Farrell, something else too.

Hope. Inspiration. whisper it, but maybe expectation too.

It might be unfair to burden that last one on the emerging professionals sat side by side with their peers. But if not them, who?

Which was what made the awards and those who won them so very fascinating for those of us still dipping our toes into their world of not make believe, but make miracles happen.

Claire Mack, the Chief Executive of organisers Scottish Renewables, was in no doubt about how crucial it was to recognise those efforts.

“The winners have shown skills beyond their years of experience and they’re certainly punching well above their weight in their new careers,” she told guests.

“They are truly the best and brightest of our industry.”

“What stands out for me is the dedication and professionalism shown by all of our shortlisted entrants.

“Their achievements absolutely demonstrate their commitment to both their careers and to the future of renewable energy.”

For those energy firms who made their millions first through fossil fuels, renewables is clearly key to what happens next.

But there is a sense from talking to those in the room that while shareholders are the ones ultimately looking to be satisfied, those at the cliff face have altogether different motivations than profit.

Challenge. Pride. And an overwhelming urgency and responsibility to do something to counteract and even prevent the effects of climate change.

And that brings opportunity.

Lindsay McQuade, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “The renewable energy industry offers a diverse range of highly-skilled career opportunities, and the YPGEA again this year has highlighted that our sector can attract very talented people.

“All of the winners and nominees richly deserve to be recognised for their outstanding work.

“As our industry continues the fight against climate change in the years ahead, and as we aim to break even more records for the amount of green electricity being delivered, it is encouraging to see that the future of renewables in Scotland is in very safe hands.”

FULL LIST OF WINNERS AND NOMINEES

ACADEMIC AWARD
Sponsored by Energy Technology Partnership
Merlinda Andoni, Heriot-Watt University – WINNER
Muhammad Imran Khan, Heriot-Watt University
Dr Encarni Medina-Lopez, University of Edinburgh
Dimitrios Tzelepis, University of Strathclyde

ACHIEVER AWARD
Sponsored by Hurley Palmer Flatt
Jennifer Fox, Aquatera
Mark Goudie, Atkins
Torsten Frost, EDF Renewables
James Shearer, SP Energy Networks – WINNER

APPRENTICE AWARD
Sponsored by Centre for Work Based Learning in Scotland
Ryan O’Connor, Jacobs UK Ltd
Emma Anderson, Smarter Grid Solutions
Gavin Kitching, SP Energy Networks
John Freeburn, Windhoist – WINNER

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AWARD
Available to sponsor
Fred Pullar, Renewable Parts – WINNER
Rachael Taljaard, Smarter Grid Solutions
Aslihan Penley, Yam Pro Energy UK

COMMUNICATOR AWARD
Available to sponsor
Lorna Archer, Bright Green Hydrogen – WINNER
Matthew Chapman, Smarter Grid Solutions
Corinna Scholes, SSE

ENGINEER AWARD
Sponsored by ESB
Marisa Soares, Atkins
Valentin Dolle, EDF Renewables
Finlay McNicol, Smarter Grid Solutions
James Williamson, SSE – WINNER

INNOVATOR AWARD
Sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Mathieu Rincent, EDF Renewables
Callum Rae, Hurley Palmer Flatt
Ricardo Da Silva, ScottishPower Renewables
Ross Tierney, SP Energy Networks – WINNER

PROFESSIONAL AWARD
Sponsored by WSP
Juan Jose Romero Anover, ScottishPower Renewables
John Townsend, Shepherd & Wedderburn
Marc Costa-Ros, Wood – WINNER
Thomas Houlding, Wood

PROJECT MANAGER AWARD
Available to sponsor
Phillip Addison, EDF Renewables
Sebastien Swieton, EDF Renewables
James Williamson, SSE
Sarah Cochetel, Wood – WINNER

JUDGES AWARD
Sponsored by ScottishPower Renewables
Miles Franklin, Gravitricity
Mark Goudie, Atkins
Hannah Greening, EDF Renewables – WINNER
Gavin Kitching, SP Energy Networks
James Williamson, SSE

SPECIAL COMMENDATION
​Gavin Kitching, SP Energy Networks – WINNER

The ten winners of the 2018 Young Professionals Green Energy Awards will now go on to compete for the Young and Inspiring Award at the Scottish Green Energy Awards, which will be held in Edinburgh on December 6.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read: Young Professionals Green Energy Awards

IMAGE CREDITS: Scottish Renewables & @ShaunMilne

Shaun Milne is a Scottish based journalist with a particular interest in environmental issues, politics and travel.

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