DP Energy’s Adam Cronin discusses working in the growing renewable energy sector and the advice he would give to people starting out.
Green skills are becoming more important than ever as Ireland focuses on renewable energy and other projects that aim to reduce the country’s carbon footprint. But what is it like working within the renewable energy sector?
Adam Cronin is the head of offshore at DP Energy, leading the team that delivers the company’s offshore renewable development brief and providing advice across the group and internationally.
Cronin has 25 years’ experience leading teams in the design, consenting and development of marine and offshore projects, including offshore energy, subsea cabling, dredging, and port and harbour developments supporting the offshore renewable sector.
‘I was using my engineering expertise to protect the marine environment while promoting sustainable development’
– ADAM CRONIN
What first stirred your interest in a career in this area?
I grew up in Skerries, a fishing town in north county Dublin. I have always lived beside the sea and I think I always will. At school I loved physics and technical drawing, so a career as an engineer was on the cards from early on.
I started my engineering education in the then Dundalk RTC [now Dundalk Institute of Technology], continued with a bachelor’s degree in the UK and finally a master’s in environmental civil engineering from Trinity College Dublin.
After an early start in engineering consultancy, I joined the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland and then the Department of the Marine based in Cork. I was using my engineering expertise working to protect the marine environment while promoting sustainable development.
After 10 years as a civil servant, I set up my own consultancy firm providing advice and services to clients in the marine space. I worked in private consultancy for 15 years before joining DP Energy to head up their offshore project portfolio.
What brought you to your current job?
I had been involved in a number of offshore renewable projects and knew this was the direction I wanted to head in. I met Simon De Pietro, the CEO and co-founder of DP Energy, and realised we shared a passion for renewable energy and sustainable development.
Simon has been a leading renewable developer for more than 30 years and I had the offshore/marine knowledge. It was an obvious fit if we were going to build offshore windfarms.
What were the biggest surprises or challenges you encountered on your career path?
I don’t recall any particularly big surprises in my career to date. More gradual changes and realisations as time went on. Every job I’ve ever had has had challenges, some internal and some external. But where’s the fun without challenges? If something needs to be done, then I’ll get it done!
Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?
I’ve been lucky to work with some really good people over the past couple of decades in both the public and private sectors.
Passionate people and people with real vision. My manager in the Department of the Marine instilled in me the need to do things right and to challenge everything. This has stood to me.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I work with a great team of people who share my passion for sustainable development and are all experts in their respective fields. Every day is different and challenging in some way. I love that!
I’m leading the development of a number of offshore windfarms that will be the largest marine civil engineering projects ever developed in Ireland, all with a goal of producing renewable energy to power our future and contribute to the country’s climate action goals.
What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to this job?
What I’m really good at is bringing people with me on a journey. I’ve always worked alongside my team rather than dictate from above. It’s the only way as far as I’m concerned.
My door is always open. I love talking to people, explaining what we are doing and get them interested. Having a tolerance for pressure and being a good multitasker helps too!
What can people expect from career progression in the renewable energy sector?
The future of renewable energy in Ireland and internationally is very strong. We have significant climate action targets to meet in Ireland, including the development of at least 5GW of offshore wind by 2030 and to produce 80pc of our energy needs from renewable resources by 2030 also.
These challenges need committed, passionate people and there are many opportunities across a huge spectrum of careers. A career in the renewable energy sector will be rewarding and exciting.
DP Energy is very supportive in the development of young professionals and indeed reskilling/training to meet the future sector needs.
What advice would you give to those considering a career in renewable energy?
My advice to anyone starting out in this sector, or indeed any sector, is fairly simple. Work hard and stay determined.
Focus on what you want and what your educational and work experience path is and go for it. If you are passionate about what you do and committed, future employers will recognise this, and you’ll be in strong demand.
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