homemeet the ambassadors carla bolado

Meet the Ambassadors - Carla Bolado

Catherine Thomas
By Catherine Thomas
28 September 2023

Distributed Energy

Meet our SSE Energy Solutions experts

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What is your role and what do you do for SSE and how long have you worked here?

Currently, I work as the Interim EV Engineering Manager. I lead a multidisciplinary team of designers and engineers, driving our Distributed Energy ambitions within the Electric Vehicle (EV) business unit. My role entails overseeing the entire lifecycle of EV infrastructure projects, from initial assessment and design to construction. I also play a key role in assuring design quality, identifying and mitigating risks, and leading the engineering aspects of numerous opportunities across the UK and Ireland.

I've been a part of the SSE team for nearly six years, beginning my journey with the company as a Design Support Coordinator. Over the years, I've progressively advanced within the EV sector, ultimately achieving the position of Senior Project Development Engineer. My background as a Mining and Renewable Energies Engineer has provided a strong foundation for my contributions to SSE Energy Solutions.

What do you find is a key challenge for businesses trying to reach net zero and decarbonise their operations?

From an engineering point of view, securing the capacity for our developments is one of the most critical challenges we face. This challenge isn't just about meeting current demands; it's about forward-thinking and planning for the future. As the electric vehicle (EV) industry continues to evolve rapidly, understanding the constraints of the grid and strategically planning for future capacity becomes paramount.

The demand for faster and more powerful chargers is inevitable. In our planning, we're considering the installation of 360KW chargers and even 1MW chargers, particularly for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and other high-demand applications. This forward-looking approach ensures that our infrastructure remains relevant and capable of meeting the evolving needs of the EV industry.

Furthermore, securing the right location for our EV charging hubs is another challenge we tackle. The strategic placement of these hubs is essential to their success. They must be situated in high-traffic areas and designed to accommodate various types of EV users, from individual car owners to fleet operators. This ensures that our charging hubs provide a convenient, reliable, and fast charging experience, encouraging more people to switch to electric vehicles.

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Melksham EV Charging Hub Launch

Can you tell us about a project you have worked on/are working on that incorporated decarbonisation as a focus?

As part of our ambitious plan to install 300 EV charging hubs in the coming years, we are actively involved in several projects that emphasize decarbonisation. Three key projects in our portfolio include:

  • Kingsway West (Dundee): This project stands out as it incorporates an innovative 'Blade to Canopy' solution. We are repurposing decommissioned wind turbine blades, giving them a second life as canopies for our EV charging stations. This initiative not only reduces waste but also highlights our commitment to sustainable practices.

  • Lough Sheever (Dublin): We are implementing an eco-friendly approach by utilising a bespoke canopy solution primarily constructed from timber. This project is situated in a greenfield area and offers charging options for both vans and cars. It exemplifies our dedication to environmentally conscious infrastructure.

  • Myrekirk (Dundee) is set to be our largest project of the year, featuring a 24-bay hub equipped with a mix of 150KW and 360KW chargers. What makes this project particularly significant is our innovative bespoke canopy design, complete with a green roof. This green roof not only enhances the aesthetics of the hub but also aligns with our biodiversity targets.

Additionally, we take pride in the Melksham SSE office project, which marks a significant milestone. It is the first hub in one of our SSE offices to be open for public use, featuring five dual-head 150KW chargers.

How vital is engineering skills in developing solutions/innovations that can enable us to provide net zero solutions?

Engineering skills play an indispensable role in the development of solutions and innovations essential for achieving net-zero objectives. Engineers are at the forefront of designing, implementing, and maintaining the infrastructure and technologies required to not only meet net-zero goals but also adhere to biodiversity targets and regulatory standards.

Two prominent examples of engineering-driven innovations within our projects include the 'Blade to Canopy' and the 'Green Roof Canopy.' These initiatives showcase our commitment to sustainability while reducing waste. By repurposing decommissioned wind turbine blades as canopies and integrating green roofs into our canopy designs, we exemplify how engineering can contribute to ecological responsibility and net-zero solutions.

Can you tell us about some of SSE’s values that are factored into the designs of our hubs?

When it comes to the design of our hubs at SSE, our core values serve as guiding principles that underpin our approach to every project. These values not only shape our designs but also drive us to deliver sustainable and impactful solutions. Let me highlight some of the key SSE values that are factored into our hub designs:

  1. Safety: Safety is key for us. We adhere to the CDM (Construction Design and Management) regulations rigorously, ensuring that our team is well-versed in safety protocols and procedures. We take a proactive approach to risk assessment, conducting sessions at every project stage. Importantly, we seek fresh perspectives by involving individuals who are not directly involved in the project to provide valuable feedback. This dedication to safety extends to every aspect of our hub designs.

  2. Teamwork: Collaboration and teamwork are fundamental values in the team. Our engineering team operates cohesively, valuing the input and opinions of each team member. We always look for an open and honest environment where ideas flow freely, and collective efforts drive our designs to excellence. This collaborative spirit ensures that our hubs are the result of collective expertise and innovation.

  3. Sustainability: Sustainability is at the heart of our designs. We are acutely aware of the Biodiversity Goals that we aim to achieve, and we integrate these considerations into our designs. Moreover, we are conscious of the carbon footprint associated with hub delivery. Hence, we are dedicated to minimising our environmental impact by adopting sustainable practices and reducing our carbon footprint.

Melksham EV Charging Hub Launch - 16.08.23 - SSE Energy Solutions-148.jpg
Melksham EV Charging Hub Launch