Scottish Power - case study

A KTP project between Scottish Power and the Energy Systems Research Unit (ESRU) within the department was established to provide the company with some of the essential technical data they need to help develop their distribution network to cope with future increasing demands. The KTP Associate charged with delivering this ambitious project is Luke Tait, who recently graduated from Strathclyde with an MSc with distinction in Renewable Energy Systems and the Environment. Here is what Luke had to say about the programme:

What was the aim?

The aim of my project is to provide Scottish Power (SP) with future demand profiling data that will be fundamental to the way that they design and operate their distribution networks. SP relies on energy demand data for consumers to inform on capacity of networks, sizing of equipment such as transformers and design requirements. The data available for current energy demands is limited and with low carbon technologies  becoming  common, as well as improvements being made to building performance, there is a real business requirement to have better energy demand data to meet the needs of the future network.

How did you get involved in the KTP project?

I found out about the job from one of my friends on my MSc course. I had never heard of the KTP scheme before but when I read the job description I could see that it would be completely different to the graduate jobs that I was applying for at the time. I could see that the skills I had developed during my MSc, such as energy modelling, would be a good fit with the goals of the KTP.

What do you actually do while working as a KTP Associate?

I am working within the Future Networks department of SP, who are overseeing the use of new technologies and innovations on the network. At the start of my KTP, I had to learn how SP functions and how the network operates. As a KTP Associate, it is my job to manage the KTP project and ensure that the KTP team work together to meet our milestones and objectives. A lot of my job requires me to plan ahead where we want to monitor and specify what equipment we require before installing at various sites. Recently, I have secured innovation funding from Ofgem, which will allow me to purchase equipment to monitor more of the network. To do this I had to put together a business case and budget that was presented to the internal SP research and development approvals panel.I have assisted SP engineers with installing monitoring equipment at sites and I have developed tools to analyse the data that we are receiving back from them. At the moment I have some monitoring equipment on the network at different sites and am planning a rollout to further sites to maximise the data available and hence increase the benefit for the company.

What has been the best part about working as a KTP Associate?

The best part is that it’s a totally different job to a regular graduate one; I have so much more responsibility in the KTP scheme than I would have had under normal circumstances. The projects that I am working on are vitally important to the business and I am reporting to senior management including directors. At this early stage of my career I am responsible for critical projects for the business and I have the chance to make a significant impact on the way that SP operates.

What advice would you give to anyone else thinking of becoming a KTP Associate?

I would definitely recommend it, especially if you relish a real challenge and are looking for something different in graduate employment. I would encourage people to keep an eye on the KTP website for vacancies and look out for opportunities within the University. I would also recommend getting in touch with the West of Scotland KTP office staff, who are all very helpful and based within the University.

When does your time working as a KTP Associate end and what are your plans for the future?

As my KTP ends in January 2014, it is too early to say exactly what my plans are for the future at this stage. I think that regardless of what happens between now and the end of my KTP, I will be in an excellent position to further my career.