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People Driving Change: Millie Pardoe

two weeks ago

Our Business Development Associate, Millie Pardoe, has already been making her mark on the industry and was named by Logistics UK as one of 20 to watch in 2020. We talked to Millie about her career highlights to date and what advice she would give to others starting out.

What does your role at Pivot Power involve?

I support the development of our private wire network which will deliver multi MW of capacity to customers that need it to enable Electric Vehicle charging.

What’s the best thing about working at Pivot Power?

As someone entering the workplace for the first time it’s been the opportunities I have been exposed to working in a start-up environment, from speaking at conferences and attending award ceremonies to participating in international training courses. I think I have been given much greater responsibility than I would have in a larger corporate environment. I’ve found the work really interesting and varied and feel that I have had a really tangible impact on the success of the company.

What attracted you to working in the energy sector?

I completed a Masters in Climate Change about two and a half years ago and I became very interested in renewable energy and policy. It was really at a tipping point when it was making financial sense to invest in renewables and I think that’s what drew me to the sector, because in order to solve climate change you have to find a solution that is good for the climate but also makes financial sense.

What’s been your career highlight?

Seeing Pivot Power go from being a small three-man start-up in a Shoreditch office to what it’s turned into in the last two years is definitely a highlight. It’s been a unique experience to be involved in the process of the initial investment round which ultimately resulted in the company being acquired by EDF Renewables.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in their career?

This was advice I was given by someone else so I can’t take credit for it but don’t view your career as a ladder that you need to be constantly climbing. It’s ok to take a step down or go to the side if that means you’re picking up new skills or being exposed to new experiences.

What excites or motivates you most about what is happening right now?

Pivot Power has always believed that the future is electric and we’ve been quite bullish in our assumptions but that forecast is continually being upwardly revised to reflect the changing view that the EV transition is going to happen a lot sooner than people originally thought.

How is Pivot Power helping to accelerate the energy transition?

Obviously one of the main issues with renewables has been the lack of reliability and consistency so when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing we can’t rely on those sources of energy. But battery storage is helping to address this. Pivot Power is developing 40 battery storage sites which will solve the issue of the lack of reliability around renewables so when there is excess solar and wind the battery can store that and then it can export it when the demand for energy is higher.

What impact do you think the company will have?

In addition to incorporating more renewables on to the grid via our battery storage our private wire will help accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. Lack of capacity and expensive grid connections are two of the main barriers to electrification and Pivot Power is helping to solve this issue.

For example in Oxford we are leading the Energy Superhub Oxford project which will support the city to decarbonise heat, transport and energy networks and help the city to meet clean air targets. Hopefully in seeing the positive impact of Energy Superhub Oxford more councils will follow suit and accelerate their electric vehicle journey.

If you weren’t at Pivot Power, what would you be doing?

I think a lot of people when they finish university feel like the options are endless for their career path. I could have saved up to go travelling or I could have started a graduate scheme at a large consultancy firm. I guess I took a risk to some extent in joining a small start-up company but I am very glad with the path I have taken.

Who inspires you?

I would say Jacinda Ardern both as a female leader but also the youngest leader in over 150 yrs. She’s led a fight against sexism and racism all while going through the process of childbirth and really normalising the concept of women in powerful roles having children.

I also think her approach to the current COVID crisis has been proactive and considered. She put the country into lockdown and wasn’t afraid to do that. She’s also taken a cut to her pay by 20% so she’s really leading by example, sadly not something all world leaders seem to have in common.