Two weeks with Sofia for Newcastle University student

Masters Civil Engineering student Harry Stuart joined the Sofia onshore team for two weeks to experience on-site life.

Two-weeks with construction team provides unique learning experience

Newcastle University's Masters student Harry Stuart, experienced two-weeks on a busy construction site as the grand finale of his Civil Engineering studies.

Harry joined Sofia's Teesside team in April 2022, starting with Teams sessions due to Covid restrictions but then spending two weeks on the ground at locations along the onshore cable route and at the onshore converter station site.

He spent time seeing the different activities of each site and was primarily supervised by Onshore Civil Engineer, Akbar Naib-Khill and Onshore Converter Station Site Manager, Matt Archer. 

Akbar said that Harry showed a huge amount of enthusiasm and curiosity throughout the time he was there and fitted in well with the project team.

"As well as site visits, he attended many of the project meetings, gave a presentation on HVDC cables and  carried out some civil engineering work including design checks on the onshore converter station platform," Akbar said. "It was rewarding to see his understanding of the project increase over the time that he was with us."

He also had the chance to sit with the project's electrical transmission contractor GE's Grid Solutions where he learnt about the importance of planning on a project like Sofia.

Before arriving he had said he hoped to: gain a greater understanding of using HVDC transmission lines for offshore wind projects; learn about the engineering challenges of buried transmission lines and converter substations; gain relevant experience, and develop an understanding of the economics of offshore wind projects.

Harry said: "I really enjoyed my time with RWE, going to the site, seeing the onshore cable route, and visiting the National Grid substation. I worked with lots of different people, but mostly with Akbar and Matt, and both of them really helped me improve my technical abilities.

"My main learning has been around the interactions between the different engineers, the contractors and the clients, and how they all need to appreciate each other's perspectives, thoughts and processes on the design and how to construct, to come up with optimal solutions.

"Renewable energy is definitely the right career path for me as I want to do something that will make a difference - I see a bright future in offshore wind and would like to be one of the pioneers, practically helping the world to fight climate change."

Harry is also scheduled to re-visit the site for a day in the summer so he will be able to see the progress of the works since his time with the team.

Onshore Civil Engineer, Akbar Naib-Khill with Masters student Harry Stuart at the converter station site.


June 2022