Wind Energy Reservoir Storage (WERS): A unique renewable energy capture system

In 2016 VisitScotland Business Events launched an exciting new campaign targeting the MICE market: Legends. This campaign showcases the sector strengths in Scotland from bio-engineering, to digital technology, life sciences, space and engineering. As part of the campaign we ran a competition to discover the Young Legends of tomorrow, to meet those young people in Scotland who are working on incredible new ideas that will strengthen our advanced sectors, and who may just have the next idea that can become a Legend. In this blog we meet Mark Goudie, an award winning young engineer working for SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins, who has developed a unique renewable energy capture system.

By Mark Goudie, Electrical & Mechanical Engineer at Atkins

What inspired you to work in the energy Sector?

My inspiration to work in the energy sector came directly from my inspiration to be an engineer. Engineering to me is the means to solve problems and help people. Engineers keep our infrastructure intact, our transportation networks moving, our lights on, and our clean water running. And for that reason, I think engineering, and by extension the energy sector, are a fundamental, if understated, part of our lives.

We all use energy in our everyday lives whether it’s electricity to charge our devices and power our lights, gas to heat our homes or fuel to power our transportation systems. The traditional energy sources that we used to have underwent and continue to experience significant change; the increasing percentage of renewable generation; the uptake of Electric Vehicles; the future alterations to our heating systems. These are but some of the transformations we are facing – making this an exciting time for engineers to change the way we generate, access and consume energy. These will allow engineers to help address some of these emerging energy sector challenges and ultimately help people and communities in the process.

The role and work that you have been involved in with Atkins

Working for an engineering consultancy has given me the chance to work across the entire energy sector, from renewables to oil and gas, electrical networks to nuclear power. As an engineering consultant, my focus is on helping both private and public sector clients adapt to changing market conditions, develop their designs and deliver their projects. In Scotland, I’ve been lucky enough to work on future proofing our electrical infrastructure, delivering new market models and assessing new technologies. This includes my Wind Energy Reservoir Storage (WERS) system that I’ve been developing at Atkins, to address some of the challenges mentioned above.

The combination of being both the inventor and project manager for WERS has given me a rare leadership position to help drive and dictate the development of the project inside Atkins; pushing the delivery of the WERS, both in the UK and abroad. As the project manager, I’m responsible for the investment budget, external negotiations and the technical development of WERS. In terms of other staff involvement, I’ve made extensive use of our global technical networks and technical fellowship to test and develop the WERS system. This involves presenting my latest technical findings, co-ordinating the input of our global technical staff in the review of those findings and subsequently updating the designs to take account of any feedback.

Outcome of that work for the industry

  • Helping them prepare or respond to the major changes that their business is experiencing.
  • Providing innovative solutions to new and old challenges.
  • Helping their business grow and diversify.

Any tips or advice for others looking to be an innovator or entrepreneur?

  • Plan your today, yesterday: Plans and lists are really satisfying and with the ever-changing day to day demands on your time, it's easy to not achieve what you set out to do. Taking five minutes at the end of your day to plan what you need to do for the next day will help focus your attention on what you need to achieve.
  • Get involved: Some of the biggest growth opportunities will come from getting fully involved in work, being flexible to opportunities and thinking about how else you can get involved in the wider profession. This could be internal initiatives in your company, volunteering for your professional institution and  Ambassador work, such as STEM Ambassadors and the QEPrize.
  • Do good work and don't plan too far ahead: Reputations take a lifetime to build, and getting a reputation for doing good work, will give you dividends in the future. It's also important to have a future plan that's not fixed. Fixed plans can blind you to opportunities in the here and now. And it is those opportunities that can open doors you never knew existed.

And if I was to finish on a final line, I would say:

Start with the end in mind. Remember to bring others along with you. Be humble in your approach and consistent in your delivery.

With thanks to Mark Goudie and everyone at Atkins.

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