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EGEB: What it’s like to be a wind turbine technician apprentice

  • A wind turbine technician apprentice tells the Guardian about his experiences in his new role.
  • Electric vehicle battery technology company Enevate secures an $81 million investment.
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Wind turbine technician apprentice

The Guardian spoke with Braidon Nurse, 19, who is in the second year of his apprenticeship working on the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm 12 miles off the coast of Suffolk, England, for SSE Renewables.

Photo: Andy Donohoe/Guardian

Greater Gabbard is a 140-turbine, 504 MW wind farm jointly owned by SSE and RWE Renewables. It’s is the farthest from shore and in the deepest water of any commercial UK offshore wind farm.

Here’s an excerpt where Nurse talks about his apprenticeship, of which is likely to become a permanent role:

A lot of my dad’s friends worked in the offshore oil industry, and I liked the sound of working outside, being busy and keeping on my feet. I’m not sure how I’d cope being stuck in an office all day. Everyone I spoke to said the same thing: oil is dead, renewables are the future.

I’m learning skills I wouldn’t be able to learn anywhere else and I’m working with a team of people that are really committed to helping me progress. I’m starting to work on bigger jobs and be trusted to handle maintenance tasks on my own. We regularly check the whole of the turbine, clean it, change filters, maybe change the main circuit breaker – whatever’s required.

People always ask what it’s like being at the top of a 100-meter-high wind turbine. It does make your legs go a bit funny when you look over the top.

Long term, I’d like to specialize in the high voltage side so that I could isolate a particular turbine from the others if necessary. There are only three people authorized to do that on the Greater Gabbard site, so it’s an important job.

I’m happy I decided to work in the renewable energy sector in general and wind in particular. It’s certainly increased my awareness about the fact that we all have a role to play in making the future a sustainable one.

Enevate investment

Enevate, which manufactures silicon-dominant lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology featuring extreme fast charge and high-energy density for electric vehicles, has secured $81 million in Series E funding led by Fidelity Management & Research Company. That money will provide the company with further resources to accelerate global adoption of Enevate’s battery technology in electric vehicles.

Existing investors Mission Ventures and Infinite Potential Technologies also participated in the round. Enevate has raised $191 million to date. It was founded in 2005.

This latest investment will enable the company to significantly expand its pre-production line designed to guide EV and other battery customers toward implementing larger-scale battery manufacturing using Enevate’s silicon anode-based batteries. It will also enable Enevate to hire additional personnel with an emphasis on scientists and engineers.

Enevate works with multiple automotive original equipment manufacturers and EV battery manufacturers using a business model of technology transfer and intellectual property licensing.

LG Chem is one of many investors in Enevate. Sungrok Bang, director of open innovation from LG Energy Solutions, the battery spinout from LG Chem, said:

Our collaboration with Enevate started in 2017 and progresses today, we are excited about fast charge, high energy density technology and we are working to bring it to the EV market. Congratulations to the Enevate team on this latest milestone.

Photo: SSE

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.