I was one of the founding members of the Tidal Lagoon team when I joined the company five years ago. I started as Project Development Manager off the back of developing wind farms in East Africa. I was used to having challenging roles (in challenging environments) that required a great deal of problem solving ability and tenacity, which is well suited to a small start-up with big ideas. Mark’s passion for the project was infectious and I quickly realised that for a country with such an enormous untapped resource we had to make tidal lagoons work.
Initially it was a very small team of three people so it was definitely a multi-skilled role, negotiating everything from land leases through to navigation access with Port Authorities. It quickly became apparent that the biggest gap in our knowledge was around turbines, and with very little data available in the public domain and very little development over the previous three decades on tidal range technology, it needed an enormous push. I quickly began to specialise in developing relationships with the turbine manufactures whilst developing our own energy modelling capability.
I was later promoted to Head of Turbine Development and delivered the triple regulated turbine solution developed for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. This has increased annual energy production by ~40% whilst dramatically reducing impacts on fish. This is an enormously flexible machine that will become the blueprint for all future lagoons. My current role includes:
- UK and international site selection, feasibility and design optimisation of lagoon layouts.
- Managing the relationship with turbine manufactures and the interface with engineering and development teams.
- Working in close collaboration with turbine manufacturers to further develop the optimum turbine solution for new projects following on from the development of the Swansea turbine.
- Linking the energy and turbine modelling into the commercial modelling to optimise the commercial return on future projects.
- Development of the turbine procurement strategy for Cardiff and supporting the competitive tendering process for new lagoons.
- Promoting the work of Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) to the public through professional bodies and providing technical support to development teams in stakeholder engagement. Ambassador for the TLP team – recent presentations/workshops include Hydro 2015, British Hydro Association, Cambridge University, Bangor University, ICE Brighton, IMECE Rugby and Institute for Physics.
- I also provide in-house expertise on impacts on fish and how they interact with turbines and provide a link between fish impact modelling requirements and the turbine manufacturers.
I am just about to embark upon a PhD sponsored by TLP through Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences – the primary goal of which is to investigate how tidal lagoons might influence fish migration and to develop operational strategies for lagoons to minimise fish impacts.