Supporting green jobs in rural Wales 

Dennis Geyermann, Vice President of Operations and Maintenance 

A green energy hub 

Statkraft’s Rheidol hydropower scheme, around eight miles from Aberystwyth, is a place with a lot of history. We’ve been generating clean electricity from the water here since the 1960s, and I think our presence enhances the landscape, with the dams and reservoirs attracting tourists and wildlife. Our main office, down at Cwm Rheidol, is clad in local stone, and blends in well with the other buildings in the area.  

The modest nature of the building is deceptive. As the Vice President of Operations and Maintenance, my team of over 40 people manage all Statkraft’s UK and Ireland renewable assets from Rheidol, ranging from hydropower, to wind and grid stability. Rheidol is a proper green energy hub, hidden away in the heart of rural Ceredigion. 

I’m obviously biased, but I think it’s one of the most beautiful places in the country to work  

City boy, turned country dweller 

As you may guess from my name, I wasn’t born in Wales. My background is in the oil and gas industry, both in my home country of Germany, and internationally. I worked as a project manager, refurbishing projects in different energy industries, from planning through to execution, and handing them back to the teams who operated them.  

I first came across Statkraft as a customer of one of the companies I worked for. There was always something a bit ‘different’ about how they did things. Friendly and professional. As a supplier, I was made to feel welcome and part of the business. I realised quickly that it was where I wanted to be. When a chance came to join Statkraft as a project manager in 2010, in Germany, I applied. 

The move from Germany to Rheidol came about at short notice. It was during October 2015, when I was asked to meet them on the Thursday and started work on Monday morning, for what was thought to be an interim, short-term position. But eventually the job became permanent. I moved my family over from Germany, and I’ve been here now for the best part of a decade. It couldn’t be more different from Cologne, where I’m from. As a city boy turned country dweller, I’m now settled in and feel part of the local community. Though my Welsh still needs a lot of work. 

“2024 is a big year for us at Rheidol – 60 years since the hydropower plant officially opened for business” 

At the heart of the local community 

Ensuring that the community benefits from Statkraft’s presence in the area is something I feel very strongly about. That could be by supporting local organisations such as the football team or cycle competition through sponsorship, or ensuring the land is well-maintained for fishing and walking.  

We have a Visitor Centre just down the road from the plant, which is a popular stop-off for tourists, and well-used by community groups and local schools, for things like yoga classes. In September 2023, we held a really successful summer fete there, which saw hundreds of locals visit with their families for a fun day out. That’s going to become a fixture in our calendar, and there’s plans to make the visitor experience even better. Watch this space! 

“Rheidol has an important role, so explaining what we do is one of the best parts of my job”

Looking to the future 

As Statkraft evolves, so does my role, which is why flexibility and being open to change is very important for me and my team. The Rheidol Control Centre is the hub of our operations across the UK and Ireland, with 24/7 monitoring of our renewable infrastructure, so it’s of huge strategic importance to Statkraft. I spend a lot of time travelling, in an environmentally-friendly way, as far as possible. It's important to spend time visiting our locations across the UK and Ireland, and also sharing expertise about what we do here, with the wider business, and colleagues from some of the other countries we operate in.  

The business is expanding, and so our capacity in the Operations and Maintenance team in the UK and Ireland to manage what we build, needs to grow too. That’s why I’ve been working hard to ensure we have training and development opportunities for new joiners. This may be in the form of schemes like apprenticeships, internships, or placement years for university students, or something as informal as work experience for school students, which could lead them to further studies, and eventually a job with us. 

As the renewable sector in both Wales and the UK as a whole grows, the workforce must expand, and companies like Statkraft must play our part in developing the skills needed in our future employees. That’s the only way to effectively transition to clean power. Through investing in people, we’ll hit those ambitious targets, and ensure this part of rural Wales continues to be a green energy hub. 

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