Blog 15: A day in the life of a Banks Renewables wind farm manager, Tommi McElroy

September 16, 2021 | Renewables News

Blog 15: A day in the life of a Banks Renewables wind farm manager, Tommi McElroy

Pictured above: Tommi McElroy checking readings on a transformer at our Penny Hill Wind Farm, near Rotherham

When did you join Banks Renewables?
“I started in February 2021, joining Banks from WPO UK Services Ltd where I was responsible for the operational management of wind farms. I have a range of engineering, safety and asset management skills, having worked on renewables since 2011 as a technician and site services manager. Before that I served in the RAF – including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I manage three wind farms for Banks Renewables at Penny Hill, near Rotherham, Armistead, near Kendal and Heysham South near Lancaster and I also assist in the management of the health and safety systems across all of our wind farms.”

What do wind farm managers do?
“My job is to ensure that our wind farms are working properly and safely, whilst generating the amount of renewable electricity they are designed to produce.”

"I do not wait for components to fail but regularly arrange for service, repair and replacement of parts as necessary before failures occur."

What’s a typical day in the life of a wind farm manager entail?
“I enjoy my job, working from home and on site, occasionally going into our head office at Meadowfield for training, to attend client meetings or pick up kit. I am on site at one of the wind farms I look after at least twice a week; sometimes more if there are contractor technicians on site or, working with the community relations manager when we are hosting a site visit by a local school, local councillors or landowner.”

Pictured above: Tommi McElroy checking the equipment and reading in one of the turbines at Penny Hill Wind Farm
Pictured above: Tommi McElroy checking the equipment and reading in one of the turbines at Penny Hill Wind Farm

“I carry out regular checks at our wind farms and conduct thorough inspections looking at safety and the civils infrastructure, roads, ditches and culverts, reporting on the condition and noting any defects. I also inspect the exterior of the turbines, looking for any signs of leaks and wear, listening for potential issues, noisy bearings and loose objects/equipment etc. I also inspect the entrance level of the turbines and any external kiosks to ensure there are no issues with the high voltage switchgear or transformers.”

Pictured above: Tommi McElroy inspecting the blades at our Penny Hill Wind Farm, safely from the ground using binoculars
Pictured above: Tommi McElroy inspecting the blades at our Penny Hill Wind Farm, safely from the ground using binoculars

“I do not wait for components to fail but regularly arrange for service, repair and replacement of parts as necessary before failures occur. This approach makes sure that the wind farm is working safely and as efficiently as possible when the wind blows, and minimises downtime.

If I spot an issue or a failing component I report this to colleagues at Banks Renewables and also to the equipment manufacturer and help to determine the best solution. If contractors are required, my job is to source and appoint appropriate engineers, completing all the necessary paper-work, including raising the appropriate purchase orders.”

Pictured above: Tommi McElroy recording some findings in the Penny Hill control room
Pictured above: Tommi McElroy recording some findings in the Penny Hill control room

“I review contractor’s Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMS) to ensure they are fit for purpose and also check if the contractors are suitably competent to complete the works.

I monitor the control systems that report how my wind farms are performing and look at the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) control system which allows me to get a real time overview of performance. I also run reports from SCADA which shows trends and highlight any potential defects.”

Pictured above: Tommi McElroy standing at the rear of his Nissan Navara on site at Penny Hill Wind Farm
Pictured above: Tommi McElroy standing at the rear of his Nissan Navara on site at Penny Hill Wind Farm

“I enjoy my work and I am pleased to be helping provide the UK with clean energy for our homes and businesses, playing my part in tackling climate change. It’s a great to be part of the renewables industry that needs highly skilled people and always provides a wide variety of challenges.

I would encourage anyone thinking about a career in renewables to consider some of the opportunities offered by Banks Renewables.”

By Tommi McElroy, Banks Renewables wind farm manager, September 2021

For the latest vacancies at The Banks Group please see: https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/careers/

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