David Coad #TeamRenewables
by RES | Aug 08, 2023 | Reading time: 3 min
As a renewables specialist and High Voltage (HV) service provider we understand the importance of prioritising safety above all else, time management and minimising the downtime of assets.
In the UK&I, RES’ in-house HV unit builds on the existing experience of operating HV networks for both onshore and offshore assets and leverages our large-scale Transmission and Distribution experience gained in the US.
In this #TeamRenewables we find out more about David Coad, Senior Authorised Person (SAP) in RES’ in-house HV team.
Career journey so far…
I left school in 1990 aged sixteen and started an electrical apprenticeship covering domestic, commercial, industrial installation and maintenance for the Ministry of Defence (MoD). From there, the skills and knowledge I gained helped me secure various electrical engineering roles overseeing multiple Royal Air Force (RAF) and Marine bases and a Commando Training Centre. It was on these sites I became involved with higher voltages, with the airfield lighting circuit running on voltages up to 1300 volts.
By 2010 I was a Co-ordinating Area Authorised Person managing a team of mechanical and electrical engineers who carried out work within MoD high risk areas. Transitioning from the practical side of the job to the management of people was initially a big change, largely because we all worked remotely; however, with a good team, the distance didn’t feel that far. Thankfully, I wasn’t too far removed from the action as I was still on hand to step in when required.
In 2013 I ventured away from the MoD and into renewables a couple of years later where I completed my climbing certificates and turbine licenses to become an experienced climber for high voltage work in onshore wind. Turbines soon became my new place of work, and luckily, I have a head for heights and don’t mind the confined spaces, although it was a bit of a (vertical) learning curve. During my time as a HV climber, I was also involved with a transformer replacement on RES’ first wind project, Carland Cross in Cornwall.
To continue to build on my renewables experience, I joined RES’ newly established in-house HV team as a 33KV SAP in 2022. Since its inception, the team has grown significantly working remotely across the UK&I. Between us, we have a large breadth and depth of HV experience with technical specialties interspersed amongst the team, mine being installation works.
As a Senior Authorised Person (or SAP as we’re known), we manage the High Voltage safe system of work on RES sites. This includes everything from fault finding, isolation and earthing tasks, to maintenance and replacement of switchgear and transformers as required.
A day in the life
Normally we try to schedule our work for more than a week in advance, but we need to remain adaptable and flexible to change. This is never truer than when there is a HV plant failure or a trip that we need to urgently attend to. I could be working 20 mins from home one minute, but this could quickly change and become a callout to travel five or six hours away to a fault. This is not a 9-5 job!
Where do you see your career in five years’ time?
When I was sixteen, I was told that electricity would give me a job for life. Now years later, I’m still doing the job I love whilst helping to progress the investment of green electricity and use of clean energy. I really enjoy working for RES and want to continue to grow with the company and look forward to seeing our team expand.
Tell us about your favorite hobbies and interests?
When I have time at home, this is spent with the family camping, or glamping around the UK attending car and van shows. I’ve enjoyed motocross racing for a long time so I’ve always had vehicles that can accommodate bikes so when an old AA van came up for sale I jumped at the chance. Since then, I’ve spent a few years converting it into a camper van and with a few modifications (and more money than I care to remember) and I’m proud to say it’s been featured in a Volkswagen (VW) magazine.