Scott Sutherland is our Project Director and joined the project from EDF Renewables in 2022. His vast experience of working in renewables, on wind projects all over the world, makes him the perfect fit for leading the Codling Wind Park team. Find out what a typical day is like for a Project Director and what’s next for the project following our ORESS success.
What’s your role at Codling Wind Park?
I’m Project Director so it’s my job to manage and support the team in the delivery of the project. This means making sure the team is on track to meet our delivery dates and keeping both our shareholders (EDF Renewables and Fred. Olsen Seawind) informed of our progress.
What’s a typical day like?
Most of my time is spent at my computer, but I travel to Ireland from my home in the north of Scotland every couple of weeks. When I’m at my desk, I’m either on the phone or on a Teams call – I’m always talking to someone! When I’m in Ireland there’s a lot more social interaction with face-to-face meetings and team get-togethers.
In terms of our focus as a project, for the first part of the year it was our ORESS (Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme) bid: building our business case, putting our costs together and keeping shareholders up to date. There were a number of milestones we had to meet to be able to take part and also no precedents, as it was Ireland’s first ever offshore wind energy auction.
So it was a big deal for the country – not to mention the project – when we found out in May we’d been successful and awarded our bid for the full capacity submitted of 1.3 GW.
Following our ORESS success, our focus now is on getting our consent application ready for submission. My job is to make sure my team has everything they need, checking that we’ve not left any stone unturned, and working with the relevant bodies – be it local authorities, government or the planning inspectorate – to make sure everything is included in our application.
What’s the state of the Irish offshore wind market?
It’s an immature market, so we’re working more closely with policymakers than might usually be the case in other countries. There’s brand new legislation and it’s also untested, which gives our team additional challenges to overcome when interpreting the government’s new guidelines. But because Ireland has a lot of catching up to do, there’s a real focus from policymakers to get this done. There’s a lot of attention on this area by everyone involved.
What’s been your career path to Codling Wind Park?
I’ve only ever really worked in renewables: I started in onshore wind, before moving into offshore in 2010. My first offshore project was EDF Renewables’ Teesside offshore wind farm in the north east of England.
I then worked in consultancy for several years all over the world, before returning to EDF Renewables in 2021 as Head of Offshore Wind. This introduced me to Codling Wind Park, as I was on the board and became Co-Project Director with Thomas Gellert from Fred. Olsen Seawind in June 2022.
A year later, I came on board as permanent Project Director for Codling Wind Park. I love the role. I have a clear mandate to drive the project forward and I get to be far more involved in the details of the project than I was before.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Without a doubt it’s the team. We all have a material end goal: to get the project built, and this is at the forefront of everyone’s mind who works here. Having this common objective really unites us as a team.
What are you most proud of achieving in your career so far?
Achieving ORESS is definitely one of my biggest career highlights to date. We’d all worked so hard to get the project to reach this point that to achieve the milestone felt really good.
How do you feel about working on a project that’s actively tackling climate change?
I’m proud to work in an industry that’s trying to do good. I have four kids and I like to think that what I’m doing will have a positive impact on the planet for their future.
Would you recommend a career in renewables to a young person?
100%. There’s such a variety of jobs in the renewables sector: from technical hands-on roles to working in business and strategy. It’s also an industry that’s gone global so you can travel the world with a career in renewables.
I’ve worked in China, Romania, Germany, the US, the UK and now Ireland. The markets are completely different and you get to experience so many different cultures. Even if you don’t travel, a project like Codling Wind Park has people working here from all over the world, so you get to experience a range of cultures and nationalities in your own team.
Plus there’s the job security you get from knowing you’re working in an industry that’s growing. In fact, there’s probably not a more secure job you can get than working in renewables now.
What’s next for the Codling Wind Park project?
After we’ve submitted our planning application, the procurement and engineering works will continue to ramp up. We will run another geotechnical campaign and continue to nurture relationships with the supply chain. Then from 2025 onwards, we’ll be talking with lenders, advisers and banks as we lead up to securing a financial investment decision. We certainly won’t be sitting and waiting around for the result of the planning application!
I would love to remain with the project and see it through to construction. We’ve got a really good team and a lot for us still to achieve together.