Blog: 'Graduating' in our
low carbon energy team - Johnny Roach

26 February 2021

Johnny Roach, Specialist Graduate in Scottish Water, talks about his recent graduate placement in our low carbon energy team…

Since joining Scottish Water’s (SW) Graduate Programme in 2019, I’ve been fortunate to be involved in some really exciting placements – including my most recent placement in Horizons Low Carbon Energy team.  I’ve loved the diversity of the roles I’ve had so far and getting to meet and work with lots of amazing people across the company.

Before joining SW, I studied Mechanical Engineering with Renewables at University of Dundee, which I really enjoyed and so I’m delighted to get to work on projects related to my degree.

One the of great things about the Graduate Programme is all the development opportunities it brings.  I’ve really enjoyed getting the chance to get involved in low carbon initiatives and be immersed in all things sustainable; and it keeps me motivated knowing that I’m working for a forward-thinking company that is having such a positive impact on Scotland.

In Horizons, I’ve been lucky enough to work on a number of low carbon energy projects including solar photo voltaics (PV) and hydropower.  SW has a variety of assets that are perfect for installing renewable technologies.  And as the biggest user of electricity in Scotland, I think SW has a fantastic opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint and lead by example. The fact that our target to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2040 and host or self-generate three times the power we consume by 2030 says a lot!

Over the past six months I’ve been carrying out desktop feasibility studies for new solar projects. (My university dissertation came in very handy, having focused on the feasibility of floating solar on a SW reservoir!).  I got the chance to travel to operational sites across Scotland (being mindful of Covid guidelines of course) to determine their suitability to host solar schemes.   Plus I got the chance to drive one of SW’s new electric pool cars – a great experience, even if it took a while to get used to the silence!

Quick pitstop on the way to Perth treatment works via electric vehicle.

Talking of Covid, working from home for long periods has probably been one of the biggest challenges for me,  especially whilst having my two-year-old son running around the house some days! Thankfully, I had the chance to work in an office environment before lockdown began – although I do wonder what the office of the future will look like!

I’m looking forward to my next challenge which will be a placement in Scottish Water.  I think the water industry is a really exciting sector to work in just how.  We’re going to see huge transformations in terms of carbon and energy – and I’m really looking forward to the journey ahead.

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