Change is in the Wind - National Grid Ventures and RWE are Working Together to Combine Skillsets and Usher in a Just Energy Transition

May 8, 2023 –Gwynt y Mor, UK

Community Offshore Wind sent team members from National Grid’s Long Island generation business to RWE’s Gwynt y Mor Offshore Wind Farm in the UK. National Grid Ventures employs 530 people across its steam turbine generating plants on Long Island, many of whom have been working in the industry for decades. The trip to Gwynt y Mor offered the first look into how we can transfer their skills to offshore wind. 

We sat down with representatives of the group to hear the biggest takeaways from the trip and how the work they do now can be useful in offshore wind:

Jim Flannery

Chief Operating Officer for National Grid Ventures, Northeast US (formerly vice president of National Grid’s Long Island generation business)

Hicksville office, Long Island

  • Tell us about your trip to the UK. What did you do and what did you learn?

    A group of us from the Long Island Generation business traveled to the UK, to the West Coast of North Wales to visit the Gwynt y Mor Offshore Wind Farm to learn more about the offshore wind industry. We met with the RWE team who manages the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) on Gwynt y Mor and two other small offshore wind farms called Rhyl Flats and North Hoyle.

    As the electric system in New York and the U.S. transitions to clean energy, the workforce will also need to transition. The trip was the first of many opportunities to explore the transferable skillsets to clean generation.

  • How can the workforce at conventional energy facilities, like National Grid’s power plants on Long Island, transfer skills to offshore wind?

    There are a lot of similarities between offshore wind generating assets and conventional fossil fuel power plants. In fact, a number of the RWE management team formerly worked in conventional energy plants. Each day, the RWE team boards vessels to travel to work on offshore wind turbines and substations to perform routine inspections and maintenance. Other teams have onshore-based jobs in warehousing, procurement, staging tools and equipment, and control room activities. The variety of roles on offshore wind farms is very similar to that of fossil fuel power plants. National Grid’s generation workforce is well positioned to engage and support future operations.

  • What is the plan for training more Generation employees in the future?

    Right now, our folks are focused on the day job, to operate and maintain the power plants that serve the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and its 1.1 million customers. We produce reliable electric power when called on by LIPA and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). Meeting these expectations is a full-time job. And maintaining the skills and qualifications necessary to operate our existing fleet is paramount. However, we certainly have an eye on the future offshore wind technology, and as opportunities arise in the permitting, construction, and O&M periods, National Grid personnel will be ready to support Community Offshore Wind. These are very exciting times ahead for the entire team.

  • What excites you most about offshore wind?

    The RWE team that we met in North Wales was great. They went out of their way to welcome us and share the UK history of transitioning to clean energy. The culture of RWE is very similar to that of National Grid’s. The people are passionate, collaborative and committed to their employees and customers. They share our values: Doing the right thing, finding a better way and making it happen.

  • What are the next steps on your journey to offshore wind?

    We look forward to working with RWE and exploring ways for us to work together more closely and collaboratively in future years. I’m encouraged that New York state, National Grid and RWE are committed to the clean energy and workforce transition.

    When I visit National Grid’s Generation (Genco) sites, I’m often asked, “What’s going to happen to our power plant? How can I position myself to support the Community Offshore Wind joint venture?” My response is simple, the Genco team consists of management and represented employees who are highly skilled and trained. For now, our units will be needed to support the reliability of New York’s electric system. In the future, the skills and capabilities that currently exist on our team are certainly transferrable to offshore wind.

Kerry McCole

RWE Renewables General Manager. Kerry is responsible for the operations and maintenance activities at Gwynt y Mor Offshore Windfarm 

Gwynt y Mor is a 576MW windfarm located approx. eight miles off the coast of North Wales

  • How did you enter the offshore wind workforce?

    I studied engineering at university, but after graduation I got side-tracked in a totally different career in local government. Five years later, an energy company began building a power station close to where I lived, and despite lacking industrial experience, I was lucky enough to be offered a position on their engineering team. That’s how I got my foot in the door and start in the energy industry. 

    Since then, I have progressed through various roles and made the decision in 2018 to move to offshore wind. The opportunity allowed me to use my highly transferrable skills from the “traditional” power station business and move to the renewables business where I believe that I am making a real difference in the green energy transition.

  • What has been the best part of your experience working in offshore wind?

    There are too many to mention, as each day brings a new and different experience at an operational site. However, some of the real stand out moments occurred during the COVID pandemic - it was such a challenging time for everyone. Generating electricity is a critical role and we played our part to ensure that electricity continued to flow. 

    As a leader, I was so proud to see how adaptable and resilient my team was at a time of such unknowns. On a personal level, it was also satisfying to tackle and find the best solutions for ensuring the safety of my people whilst working and keeping the energy supply going for the UK. 

    Another great success that I’m proud to have been part of was helping recruit our wind technician trainee cohort – the next generation of workers in offshore wind! It’s so inspiring to see bright, young people interested in pursuing a career in our industry. We have worked on developing a great recruitment process and worked with an educational institution to develop and implement a bespoke wind technician trainee program for offshore windfarm technicians. It’s wonderful to see the wind technician trainees returning to the operational sites with college credits and applying the skills our program is teaching them. 

    As a woman in a leadership role, I’m also pleased to be involved in offshore wind. The industry is still male dominated, particularly in operational site positions. I’m a firm believer in “if you can see it, you can be it,” so I hope that the female talent of the future can look at me and know that there is absolutely a place for them in offshore wind.

  • Change is in the wind for the renewable sector. How is your experience training the National Grid generation team helping bridge the talent gap?

    Being part of the offshore wind team provides a level of job satisfaction I’ve not experienced before. In my role as Gwynt y Mor Offshore Windfarm General Manager, I work across so many areas – that’s the beauty of working in operations. The things I am involved in every day include health and safety, sustainability topics, operational performance, technical and engineering topics, commercial matters, stakeholder management and people management. This is a small fraction of what’s required to deliver successful performance and management of a large offshore windfarm.  But I didn’t start out this way. 

    I came to RWE with a degree in engineering, but no practical, hands-on experience. I worked in an unrelated industry for a number of years before getting my foot in the door working in energy. Since getting that break, I have been lucky enough to receive the training, support and experience to progress from being “book smart” to a well-rounded professional. This has allowed me to grow and develop my career, taking on more responsibility with each new role, and progressing within the organisation.

    I transitioned from the more “traditional” power station and generation business to offshore wind, although where we generate the electricity is different, including a very different commute for some of our team, lots of what we do is very similar.  The training we’re doing with National Grid allows us to help prepare the team to look at how the work they do now can transfer to a role in offshore wind, and also helps connect them with people in the industry who can help support them. 

    No windfarm is an island and being part of a joint venture partnership with a company like RWE gives you access to so many experienced colleagues who are always happy to help if you don’t have the answer yourself.

  • What did you learn from the National Grid colleagues about the US offshore wind industry?

    It’s always so beneficial to gain insight into a diverse culture and geography. It was very interesting to hear about how they are considering various approaches to planning and logistics based on their experience and the several opportunities they may encounter operating in their region.

  • What would be your one piece of advice for someone thinking about transitioning to a career in offshore wind?

    Go for it! It’s such a varied job, no two days are ever the same. It’s such an exciting time for the US offshore wind industry and to be part of it from the outset is a unique opportunity.

For further inquiries:

Community Offshore Wind
Virginia Limmiatis
M. +1-315-396-5334

Community Offshore Wind

Community Offshore Wind, a joint venture between RWE and National Grid, will bring clean energy from offshore wind to the Northeast. We will develop offshore wind on the largest parcel in the New York Bight with the potential to host 3 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, which is enough to power over one million US homes and businesses. The project is expected to be in operation by the end of 2030. Community Offshore Wind is dedicated to investing in communities by bringing clean energy jobs to the region and growing the local economy. We will deliver sustainable energy safely, reliably and efficiently to the communities we serve. For more information, please visit


RWE is leading the way to a green energy world. With an extensive investment and growth strategy, the company will expand its powerful, green generation capacity to 50 gigawatts internationally by 2030. RWE is investing more than €50 billion gross for this purpose in this decade. The portfolio is based on offshore and onshore wind, solar, hydrogen, batteries, biomass and gas. RWE Supply & Trading provides tailored energy solutions for large customers. RWE has locations in the attractive markets of Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. The company is responsibly phasing out nuclear energy and coal. Government-mandated phaseout roadmaps have been defined for both of these energy sources. RWE employs around 19,000 people worldwide and has a clear target: to get to net zero by 2040. On its way there, the company has set itself ambitious targets for all activities that cause greenhouse gas emissions. The Science Based Targets initiative has confirmed that these emission reduction targets are in line with the Paris Agreement. Very much in the spirit of the company’s purpose: Our energy for a sustainable life.

About National Grid Ventures

National Grid Ventures (NGV) is the non-regulated division of National Grid plc, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. NGV operates outside of National Grid’s core regulated businesses in the US and UK where it develops, operates and invests in energy projects, technologies and partnerships to accelerate the development of a clean energy future.

NGV’s diverse portfolio of low carbon and renewable energy businesses across the UK, Europe and US includes subsea electricity interconnectors, wind and solar power, and battery storage. For more information, visit

Forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements reflect the current views, expectations and assumptions of management, and are based on information currently available to management. Forward-looking statements do not guarantee the occurrence of future results and developments and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual future results and developments may deviate materially from the expectations and assumptions expressed in this document due to various factors. These factors primarily include changes in the general economic and competitive environment. Furthermore, developments on financial markets and changes in currency exchange rates as well as changes in national and international laws, in particular in respect of fiscal regulation, and other factors influence the company’s future results and developments. Neither the company nor any of its affiliates undertakes to update the statements contained in this press release.

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