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SGS People: Spotlight on Johanna Behaim

Johanna joined the Managed Services team at Smarter Grid Solutions in 2019 as a Graduate Engineer, supporting the operation of sites connected under the Active Network Management schemes. Prior to this, Johanna completed an integrated Masters program in Renewable Energy Engineering with the University of Exeter from 2014 to 2018, focusing on Power Systems, Network Analysis and Distributed Generation as well as undertaking student internships with Energypedia and MicroEnergy International. During the final year of her degree and following her graduation, Johanna worked with Riventa Ldt., a water distribution consultancy, developing network models and optimising pumping schedules.

Tell us a little about your background

Environmental topics and sustainability have always been both important and interesting to me. This led me to choose a degree in Renewable Energy Engineering at the University of Exeter. Throughout the university course I came to understand the key role which the networks will have to play in achieving a clean energy revolution and the need for the grid to become ‘Smarter.’ In order to address the many challenges posed by a changing energy landscape. During my 4th year at university, I attended a guest speaker presentation by Western Power Distribution (WPD). The presentation was on WPD’s plans to increase the flexibility of their network and mentioned how they would be working together with Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) to achieve this. I was immediately interested and remember looking up SGS right after the presentation. When the position for a Graduate Engineer became available at SGS in 2019, I applied straight away!

What motivates you about your work with SGS?

I really feel that at SGS we are addressing some of the major challenges faced by the renewable energy transition, both in the UK and internationally, so that is very motivating! Also, the work environment at SGS is dynamic with new tasks and challenges every day, which keeps things interesting. There is a very positive and friendly work culture and people really support each other. Coming from a more general engineering background at university, without a specific focus on software or power systems, I have really benefited from this and learned so much from my colleagues at SGS since I started.

What do you like best about working at SGS?

Working with great people on interesting and important topics!

What has been your biggest achievement so far at SGS?

Together with others in the company I have been working on the SGS carbon footprint assessment. We have been reviewing the company operations and associated emissions, as well as looking into how we can reduce our impact in the future. We also estimated the avoided emissions achieved by all the renewable energy generation operating under our platform. It was great to see the positive impact which we have achieved through SGS’s platform. I think it is important that, as a company operating in the clean energy sector, we are taking initiative on this topic and examining our own impact. It has been encouraging to see SGS’s commitment to reducing the company’s footprint and rewarding for me to be contributing to these efforts as part of the team.

What are your hopes for the clean energy sector in the coming months and years?

For decisive and rapid actions to be taken towards decarbonization. I really hope that the upcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow will result in clear commitments from all parties to this cause and that the next few years will be used productively in implementing the solutions required to achieve these goals.

Looking forward, what impact are you hoping SGS will have?

For SGS’s products to play a key role in facilitating the electrification and decarbonization of the grid in the UK, the US and hopefully the world! I am also really interested in future applications of SGS’s Strata Resilience product and how this can be used to provide clean, reliable, and affordable access to electricity for remote communities. I hope that there will be opportunities for further projects of this kind in the future.