Bola Sangosanya – #TeamRenewables
by RES | Aug 04, 2021 | Reading time: 5 min
The energy industry across the world has developed significantly over the last decade and with it brings a wealth of transferable skills and an evolving workforce. Our team at RES is made up of people from a range of backgrounds and skill sets, bringing new ideas, ways of working and perspectives to each and every project.
In this month’s #TeamRenewables, we speak to Bola Sangosanya, an electrical engineer who currently works as a systems engineer on our battery storage projects.
Bola’s main role as a systems engineer in energy storage is working on the design and configuration of battery systems, seeing them through the whole process, from the beginning to when the sites are operational. By utilising flexibility, such as energy storage on the network it can aid the deployment of renewables as wind and solar and it is also a great tool contributing to the management of the frequency of electricity network.
Bola joined RES in 2013 as a biomass project engineering manager after spending 5 years working at a biomass renewable energy company.
“My first degree was in Russia and I studied electrical engineering with a focus on power supply. I was most interested in power supply and generation to begin with, so I went into consulting but soon realised I wanted to apply my engineering skills to the renewables industry.”
Clean, affordable energy for all
So what attracted Bola to the renewables industry?
“I was attracted to the renewables industry because I identified that energy poverty was a huge problem across the world and I saw renewables as a viable solution to addressing the problem.
“I’m originally from Nigeria and saw first-hand the issues with energy poverty in a developing country. I wanted to learn more about what was, at that time, a fledgling industry, and how we could use it to contribute to a more affordable and clean energy future.”
Providing clean, safe and affordable energy for all is something RES is passionate about.
“At RES we’re doing our bit to try and achieve net zero carbon goals and meeting global sustainability targets and it’s a great feeling to know that I’m using my knowledge, experience and skills to make a genuine difference. With what I’ve learned at RES I’m able to pass on some of this knowledge to others back home in Nigeria too.”
RES is proud of its ongoing partnership with Renewable World and Grid Alternatives, both sustainable development charities focused on making renewable energy accessible to all, tackling extreme poverty and mitigating climate change.
A day in the life
As like other members of our team, no two days are ever the same for Bola.
“My days vary depending on the project phase and what is in the pipeline. In a project’s infancy my role would usually involve front end calculations and engineering to size DC systems, define project performance, writing technical specifications to form part of contract documentations and responding to queries during technical/financial due diligence. Once it is in the financial close phase my time is vested in design reviews, liaising with clients, suppliers and OEMs to help deliver the project.
“This time last year I was working on one main project with others in the pipeline but at the moment I’ve got three active projects in battery energy storage and one in wind energy.”
So how does she juggle it all?
“It is a role that always keeps me on my toes! It is important to prioritise the right tasks at the right times. That can be quite challenging, but you get used to it with experience, managing your time well and keeping focused. It’s also important to leverage things that can be transferred across projects.”
Bola works with a variety of teams across the world on energy storage projects, and who she works with depends on the projects in question.
“In the development phase I work with civil engineers, electrical engineers, project managers, procurement teams in supporting the delivery of contracts, for example. In the construction phase I typically work with project managers and energy storage engineers on a daily basis.
“All of the energy storage projects I’m currently working on are based in Ireland so I’ve worked with people in Ireland as well as colleagues in the US – they have a number of battery storage projects so it’s great to learn from them. We can pull experiences from each other and pass on lessons learned from different projects so that we’re constantly evolving and doing better. It really is a global effort.”
The future of renewables
With the rising popularity and emphasis on renewables to meet ambitious targets across the world, Bola sees RES and the industry expanding in line with this.
Alongside this, we’re seeing increased demand for electricity to power things like electric vehicles, with restrictions on the production of new petrol and diesel cars coming into force in 2030.
Bola adds: “With the ambitious targets across the world we’re going to need to see increased penetration of renewables.
“To keep up with this, we’ll need to see increased energy storage facilities and development of technology like demand side management.
Bola added: “The need for renewables brings great opportunities for RES as well as providing good job security for those in the industry.
“It is an industry that is constantly evolving, improving and expanding and I can see our roles growing with that expansion.
“I think we’ll continue to see renewable technology evolve, become even cheaper and faster to deploy, to bring us closer to our global sustainability goals in a way that is safe, secure and affordable.”
Working at RES
In eight years at RES, Bola has seen the benefits from RES’ community engagement projects.
“I love what RES does on all of our projects. On many sites there are community benefit funds for local communities which support local grassroot projects. This, alongside our work with Renewable World, has a ripple effect.
“Our work with Renewable World not only helps communities through utilising our skills to create infrastructure, it helps equip them with a better quality of life. Giving them the tools and knowledge to live more sustainably is good for the planet and local environment as well as helping to generate new income sources which is a great thing to be able to do.”
Bola adds that RES has been a great support throughout her eight years but especially over the last year as the team has mainly had to work from home – and working together for a charity challenge is one example of the fantastic team spirit they enjoy.
“RES has a charity team that comes up with challenges to help keep us all engaged and active while raising money for our chosen charity, like Renewable World,” she said.
“The sport challenges have been great – we’re currently undertaking a mammoth effort to clock up the same distance between earth and the moon. This really helped keep us active over lockdown – it got me outside on my bike though the winter (something I never do in winter) to try to clock up the miles. It’s a two-pronged effect really – it keeps us physically and mentally fit while supporting a charity close to our hearts.”