4th September

Meet Ruaridh Danaher, Onshore Consents Manager

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After time spent living in Stirling, Canada and Leeds, Ruaridh Danaher has now settled in Glasgow where he currently works as Onshore Consents Manager for Caledonia.

We spoke to Ruaridh to find out more about his varied career journey, the importance of community engagement in offshore wind, and his advice for those looking to forge a path in the industry.

Tell us how your career journey began.

Ruaridh Danaher

I loved watching and competing in sports as a child – my first career ambition was to become a presenter of football shows. My career since then has taken a slightly different path.

After graduating from University of Stirling with a degree in Environmental Science, I worked for the Energy Savings Trust before accepting a role at an environmental charity based in the Highlands.

In 2012, I was fortunate enough to move to Canada where I worked as a project manager for an environmental services company.

I returned to the UK in 2015 where I had my first taste of renewables, working on onshore wind projects as a Project Coordinator for Scottish Power.

After finishing an MSc in Sustainability and Consultancy at University of Leeds, I stayed in the city and worked for multi-disciplinary consultancy, Arup, where I managed Environmental Impact Assessment projects across a range of developments.

In January 2021, I decided I wanted to work with an offshore wind developer, and an opportunity arose with Ocean Winds to look after the consent compliance activities for its Moray East development. This provided a good opportunity to transition into the sector and learn from the established team, particularly around the marine aspects of the project, which I had little experience of at the time.

After around a year working on Moray East, I moved to my current role working on Caledonia.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in offshore wind?

When I completed my degree, I wanted to work in the environmental sector but didn’t consider offshore wind. I first encountered the industry when I completed a secondment with a developer. I saw first-hand the growth potential of the industry, the scale of the projects being delivered and the positive impact projects could have, and decided I wanted to pursue a career in the sector.

Tell us about your role

As Onshore Consents Manager, I’m responsible for delivering the planning permission for Caledonia’s onshore transmission infrastructure.

I work closely with the Offshore Consents Manager to develop the overall consents strategy for the project, collaborate with the wider team to identify where infrastructure will be located, manage the Environmental Impact Assessment for the project’s onshore components and communicate with stakeholders to keep them updated and seek their views on the development.

I work with a smart and experienced team, many of whom have successfully delivered offshore wind projects previously. Learning from their experience and gaining insights from different aspects of the project has been a real highlight.

What are the key lessons you’ve learned working on Caledonia or offshore wind?

Engaging with the community on offshore wind developments is very important. In terms of the onshore infrastructure, the transition to net zero requires significant investment in transmission infrastructure across the country, to transport power from where it is produced to where it’s needed.

Very often, some elements of the transmission infrastructure are the most visible component of the project to the public. This makes it vital to gauge and understand the views of surrounding communities to ensure projects remain considerate of residents throughout development, construction and operation.

What would be your advice to others looking to pursue a career in offshore wind?

Offshore wind projects need contributions from a range of different professions to be successful, so don’t be put off by not having industry experience – there are lots of opportunities to bring your experience and skills from other sectors and apply them to offshore wind.

Professionals who have been involved in the industry for a long time are generous with their advice and can greatly support colleagues who have more recently moved into the sector.

It’s important to note that the climate we operate in is face paced and full of new challenges. Being flexible in your approach and the need to respond to changes effectively will help you progress.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I’ve recently taken up bouldering and enjoy spending time at the climbing gym or bouldering outdoors. Apart from that, I enjoy going to going to gigs, trying new food and spending time with my wife and two cats.

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