Jake Pimlott – #TeamRenewables
by RES | Oct 27, 2021 | Reading time: 4 min
From being inspired to work in renewables during a wind farm visit when he was 16, to becoming a Site Operations Manager and inspiring the next generation, Jake Pimlott is passionate about the renewables industry. Find out more in this #TeamRenewables.
As Site Operations Manager, Jake works across six wind farm sites for RES’ clients in Cornwall and Devon. They range from one site with one turbine to another with 15 turbines. Much like the wind farms, every day is different.
Jake’s role involves day-to-day maintenance of turbines and infrastructure on a year-long rolling plan. He manages all of the contractors who are working at each of the wind farms.
Jake joined RES in 2019 after the company acquired REG Power Management, where Jake previously worked in a similar role. Prior to his roles at RES and REG, Jake worked in facilities management – a role he first started as a year-long internship and returned to after his final year of study.
Jake added: “Working in facilities management really helped prepare me for a role as a Site Operations Manager, as it meant I had to be really organised and diligent. It also meant I had to follow stringent health and safety and operational procedures.”
While at university in Bristol, Jake had the opportunity to explore facilities management and get an initial feel for how this could look in the renewables industry:
“I studied Climate Change and Energy Management at university, so we undertook quite a few renewables modules. Working in facilities management really suited my skill set; by joining RES I can utilise these skills for our clients while also making a difference to the environment.”
But where did the first inspiration from a career in renewables come from?
“When I was at school, around the age of 16, we went to what is now a RES wind farm in Cornwall. I’d always been interested in how things work, and so to get the opportunity to see inside a turbine and find out how they can power the country first sparked my interest in the industry.”
A day in the life
So, what does a day in the life look like for Jake?
“There are 18 Site Operations Managers around the UK&I, but we’re each responsible for a select number of specific wind and solar farms. In my role I have responsibility for six client sites, but we’re split into hubs where we can support each other where necessary.”
Jake reports into an asset manager for each site, who is generally responsible for the contract side of the wind farms with the respective client. His day-to-day role involves liaising with contractors and making sure that they have the tools, logistics and safety procedures needed to do their job.
“Each week is different depending on what each site has on. For example, if one has a gearbox exchange, that’s a big job and will generally require me to visit to help coordinate things. It’s important to stay on top of all sites every day to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.”
A large part of Jake’s role is interacting with contractors who need to be on-site for a number of reasons. This could be for turbine maintenance, high voltage maintenance, civils contractors and ongoing facilities management – everything you need to keep a wind farm running and powering the country.
So, how often does Jake visit the wind farms?
“I tend to go to site once a week and each week visit a different location. The number of visits and where I go very much depends on what’s going on at specific projects at any one time. Sometimes I need to be there in person – for example we recently needed to get contractors a safe passage over a railway crossing to deliver turbine parts, so it involved coordinating with the railway company and the contractors.
“I really enjoy going to visit the different projects and getting to see contractors in person. I get to be outdoors and I don’t even mind it when it’s raining!”
Jake’s role enables him to utilise his organisational and technical skills for a career that he really enjoys. When asked what he enjoys most about his job, Jake says it’s the variety of the role. Even if they’re the same size, every wind farm is so different and provides unique, interesting challenges.
“I enjoy getting a larger project or challenge and working on that, so when it comes to an end and everything goes well, it’s a great and very rewarding feeling.”
Giving back to the community and inspiring the next generation
Through the nature of his role, Jake is involved in habitat management plans for clients on two of his sites. Jake helps to manage the process, review reports submitted by companies involved in the process and then submits these to the asset manager.
“On one site, the owner was so impressed that they asked us to proceed and carry on the habitat management for the whole life of the project. This can involve things like monitoring bats or looking at mice habitats, or reinstating hedges.”
Over the last year, less in-person events and visits have been taking place, but next month Jake is going to be hosting a visit from a local primary school to one of his wind farm sites.
“It was a wind farm visit that inspired me to work in renewables, so it’s great to be able to pay that forward and hopefully get some young people interested in a career in renewables too. It’s also great to generate environmental awareness among this age group and show them the dormouse and bat monitoring at the site too, to show them that it’s not just wind turbines involved – there’s so much more to renewables.”
The future of renewables
With the growing contribution of renewables to the UK’s energy mix, what does Jake think the future holds in store for renewable sources of energy such as wind?
“The nature of our weather and our national grid means that renewable energy can be easily accommodated. The wind is always blowing somewhere and wind power will play a vital role in our future. We think flexibility is the biggest superpower of renewables, this was shown last year when demand dropped and renewable projects – particularly onshore wind – could be easily curtailed at a moment’s notice. Our future energy system will also be one that accommodates greater flexibility – through technologies such as energy storage and green hydrogen.”