Meet a modeller: George Irving on work as an energy modelling analyst

Aurora energy blog

George, an Energy Modelling Analyst, share his experience of choosing a career path and joining Aurora’s modelling team

Academic background

Throughout my school years I was most interested in mathematics and physics, leading a physics society and attending various competitions and summer schools. I was then fortunate enough to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge in my first year before choosing to transition to Chemical Engineering for the rest of my undergraduate and masters. The parts of these courses I enjoyed most were the projects where I could take a real-world problem, such as the dynamics of large reaction vessel or the separation of a mixture in a distillation column, and transform it into a model that I could implement computationally. I spent much of my master’s year developing a model to predict the water stability of a new class of materials and it was during the course of this that I decided I wanted to work in a sector where I could use and hone my programming skills.

Why I applied

Like a lot of people with my academic background, I found it hard to narrow down what I wanted to do post university. I was interested in the challenge that I see the world facing with regard to the climate emergency and how drastically we are all going to have to shift our way of thinking to address it. I was interested in the energy sector in particular as decarbonisation of industries, such as personal transport, typically involves electrifying them and therefore requires focus on how our infrastructure will handle these changes. And, of course, I was interested in enjoying myself writing code and problem solving with similarly minded people.

Aurora was a great match for me and has given me the opportunity to learn a great deal about a really crucial sector in its most crucial period of history.

What the role looks like

In the first six months as a modeller at Aurora I’ve been involved in a variety of different projects. The first couple of months were a training period where I got to grips with our main power market model and its key assumptions. Since then, I have been working on adding new features to model some complicated aspects of one of the markets in the US, and also analysing results from one of our exciting newer models that forecasts nodal prices in Texas. I have been able to tackle challenging problems, develop python best practice skills, and learn to work closely with people in different time zones; all of which I have really enjoyed. Aurora’s culture is relaxed when it can be, serious when it needs to be, and everyone is incredibly open to helping out new starters. I look forward to seeing more new faces in the office over the next few months!

Advice for similar career path

Aurora wants to hire people who they can train to be good at modelling energy markets, therefore you don’t need to have all the specific sector knowledge. Programming skills are good to be developing however, so being able to demonstrate that you are able to confidently model a real-world phenomenon computationally will be very helpful. Companies look out for people who are able to describe their thought process and explain the method of solving the problem as they go.

Aurora’s 2023 Graduate Modelling Programme in Oxford is now open and welcoming applications, take your opportunity to apply now! You can meet some of Aurora’s team and learn more about their Graduate opportunities online on 14 March, 12-2pm.

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