I joined NFU Energy in November 2018 as a Graduate Engineer. Since then I have worked on a wide variety of projects, spanning feasibility studies, legislative consulting, renewable incentive compliance, and carbon footprinting.
Feasibility studies involve modelling and assessing the fit of technology for a site; that technology could be solar power, biomass combustion, anaerobic digestion, or any other type of renewable energy generation. Depending on the project, the models can be built from high-level rules of thumb and assumptions, or from first principles and detailed site-specific data. These kinds of projects are rarely the same and give an opportunity to learn more about the application, economics, and operation of different technologies. As well as this, you get insight into many different sectors of agriculture and horticulture.
A large piece of work that I was involved in late last year was the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, which comes around every four years and affects companies of a certain size or annual turnover. The work involved visiting sites for full energy audits, collecting and analysing a year of fuel and energy data, calculating and costing energy savings opportunities, and writing reports documenting it all. This work was very time-sensitive and required several people in the office to band together to complete it within the deadline.
Although the Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Obligation Certificate schemes have closed, the existing agreements are ongoing, and sites often require help with the auditing or ongoing obligations of these schemes. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme is still open, and although I have mostly been involved with the compliance and periodic data side of the RHI, there are lots new applications that we as a team handle.
I’ve also been leading on our carbon footprinting work, which is something we began mid-2019 and ties in very well with NFU’s goal for Net Zero carbon emissions in agriculture by 2040. This has allowed me to learn the process for calculating emissions and have the training to become certified in doing them. Additionally, I have been able to get involved in our product development process, and again gained insight into how different agricultural and horticultural sectors run, as well as their impacts on Greenhouse Gas emissions.
Site visits are an important part of our work and allow us to not only get out of the office but also to see the installations we have been working on and the people we have been working with in person. Yesterday a colleague and I went to Edinburgh to meet with some clients and discuss a large heat pump project, connected to a greenhouse and district heating network.
We do currently have a vacancy for an Energy Engineer which you can find out more about here.