The wind in his sails

Olivier, who participates in the development of wind farm projects
Olivier de Caritat participates in the development of wind farm projects

Three years ago, armed with a civil engineering diploma in electromechanics, Olivier de Caritat joined the Tractebel Engineering team as a consultant. There, he helped to study and develop wind turbine projects. Since January 2014, he has been on a Syngenia contract. He gave us this enthusiastic account of his experience.

– What do you do at Tractebel Engineering?

I participate in the development of wind farm projects in response to requests from Tractebel Engineering clients. I take part in selecting the site, doing the production and profitability studies, applying for permits, putting out calls for tenders and, finally, choosing the manufacturer. I’m involved in every aspect. At the developers’ request, I also sometimes do post-implementation studies to reassess a site’s output.

– What do you like about this job?

The whole overview you get from your contacts related to the missions of an engineering consultancy company. We work for various wind farm developers so as to meet their needs. We stay in touch both with them, to get a full understanding of their projects, and with the various actors who tackle the technical aspects. We have to be capable of understanding each and every aspect of a project and of taking them explicitly into account in order to best advice our clients. It’s these many different interactions that I like.

– Why wind power?

Wind power is exciting.  I studied electromechanics and I could easily have worked on other energy sources, but it was my first job opening that brought me here. And that’s fine by me, because the engineer heading a wind power project keeps overall control of it from start to finish. The engineer has to bring it to fruition while keeping its purpose and implementation firmly in view.

Beyond that, wind power is a renewable technology that represents a real challenge, because it’s constantly evolving and responding to the planet’s sustainability needs. And it’s an energy source that’s well suited to our Belgian climate.

– Do you work just in Belgium?

Two-thirds of the projects I work on are developed in Belgium. The rest are projects abroad, although I don’t often travel to the sites.

But I’m just back from an EWEA conference that brought wind energy experts together to share their experience of the farms currently in operation. It was fascinating. Taking part in that was a great opportunity which, like many others, is not restricted to Tractebel Engineering’s own staffers.

Talking of which, as a Syngenia consultant, how do you fit in with the Tractebel Engineering teams?

It’s great! I’m part of a 35-person team working on renewables, and 15 of them are in wind power. Within that group, four of us, no less, are on Syngenia contracts.

Before, I was working in the same Tractebel Engineering team, but on behalf of another technical assistance bureau. Since I’ve been with Syngenia, I’m an integral part of the GDF-SUEZ group. The Syngenia employees are treated like Tractebel Engineering staff, not like outsiders.

Being part of a group like GDF SUEZ opens up fantastic prospects for mobility, variety and career advancement. Plus the importance of the projects we’re entrusted with.

Anything else?

Yes, I appreciate the Tractebel Engineering forums and the training on offer to the Group’s staff. For instance, I was able to take part in an excellent conference on climate change.

In my free time, I’m also active in the Tractebel Sport association. I’m a big squash enthusiast, and I take part in the inter-company championships, as a member of the GDF SUEZ team.

Since I joined Tractebel Engineering, I’m fortunate enough to work with people who put team spirit first!