|Q: What’s your educational background?
I have a BSc in Applied Physics and Instrumentation as well as an MSc in Renewable Energy and Energy Management. I graduated with my BSc from Cork Institute of Technology in 2004. I completed my MSc through distance education with the University of Ulster.
Q: Tell us a bit about your job.
I work as a Grid Controller – I am the only female Grid Controller at Bord Gáis Networks. Grid Control is based at our headquarters in Cork and constantly monitors transmission gas flows (high pressure gas transportation through large steel pipes) and system pressures throughout the network. Grid Contol is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, 365-days-of-the-year operation and carries out its function with the assistance of hi-tech, industry-specific systems. My colleagues in Gas Control in our office in Finglas, Dublin, manage the distribution system, i.e. the pipes that deliver natural gas from the transmission pipes to our homes and businesses.
Q: What do you do on a daily basis?
As a Grid Controller, my role is to monitor the gas grid to ensure the safe operation of the Irish natural gas system. Some of the key parameters we monitor are gas pressures, temperatures and flows, and valve positions. We also monitor gas detectors around the country and control the flow and pressure of gas at strategic locations. This includes three gas turbine compressor stations. We have two stations in Scotland compressing gas for transportation to Ireland via two sub-sea interconnector pipes, and one in Cork where gas comes onshore at Inch from the Kinsale gas field.
Q: What do you like about your work?
I like the variety of people from different engineering disciplines that I interact with every day. I’ve been in the role for three years and I learn something new every day. The working hours are shift-based, which I enjoy as it allows me more flexibility to pursue my hobbies than with a 9-5 job.
Q: Any advice for people thinking about getting into this area?
I would advise anyone who is interested in this line of work to have an interest in a wide range of engineering disciplines and to gain experience in a few different areas of engineering, once they finish their preferred course.