4 August 2013

I'll miss Cottam Power Station

My current assignment ends later this month, and I'll miss it.

For the last six months I have been travelling up to Cottam Power Station near Retford in Nottingham for a few days every week, staying in Ye Olde Bell in Barnby Moor where I've got very familiar with the menu.

The travel has been a pain, it takes me almost four hours door-to-door, and so has being away from home during the week, but there have been some compensations.

After years of working in nondescript offices it has been good to work somewhere that has a clear purpose. Power stations are designed solely with function in mind and things like office space are definitely a secondary consideration. The office I normally work in is a clutch of portakabin, and that's fine.

The scale of the place is impressive. The pink (!) building is the turbine hall where four parallel systems produce a shade over 2Gw when running at full capacity; market conditions and engineering considerations dictate just how much is actually produced.

The large complex on the left is what National Grid uses to manage the high voltage network, and I have no idea what it does.

The power station I understand better as I have been taken around all the main component, that took over three hours and was one of the best days at work that I have ever had.

It has also been good working with and alongside engineers and fitters who understand the power station and what it needs to keep going. This is so very different from the common office life that is divorced from any reality and pushes paper just because that is what the job is.

I won't miss the travelling or the hotel living but I will miss the people and the fantastic machine that they work in.

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