Habitat Energy Explored: Q&A with Ralph Johnson, Head of UK Business Development

Category: Global, People

Date: 3 March 2023

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Find out what it’s really like to work at Habitat Energy with the latest in our #HabitatEnergyExplored series. This month we talk to coffee-powered Ralph Johnson, Head of UK Business Development about his role, what excites him most about the clean energy space, and how the industry can boost diversity and inclusion.

What does your job involve?

I’m responsible for originating and managing Habitat Energy’s strategic partnerships in the UK. As the interface between the business and potential clients, the Business Development team is tasked not only with getting our message out to the industry, but also for communicating industry developments or needs back into the company.

What does a typical day look like?

There is always something new and exciting, but whatever is going on, the day starts with a lot of coffee! We then get together as a team to identify our priorities for the day.  Typically that involves meeting with clients, identifying new project opportunities and learning about what asset owners or developers require, and then deciding how best to allocate our resources.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

I love the diversity of my job. Everyday brings a new challenge and a new type of conversation. I could be talking to someone about the best trading approach and configuration for an enormous co-located solar and storage project, applications for hydrogen electrolyzers, new battery chemistries or new structured products to provide revenue certainty.

I enjoy helping people understand the industry and solving problems. Advising our clients on how best to approach a project and working together to find optimal solutions is really rewarding.  I think that’s a common theme that runs through the entire business at Habitat Energy.

Which of Habitat Energy’s values resonates with you most?

Continuous learning and striving to improve.  This industry is so complex, with so many different facets to it, there’s always something new to discover or to better your understanding of.  I really appreciate our ethos of developing novel or more efficient approaches to how we do things at Habitat Energy.

What do you think the energy industry should be doing to promote greater diversity and inclusion?

We need to ensure children are interested in STEM careers at the earliest stage possible, so speaking at schools, explaining what we do in this industry and why it matters is key. I had no idea what a career in energy looked like or could offer until well after university.  I studied physics at UCL, which is a university that attracts quite a diverse student population, but even there the majority of people on my course were white and male.

We also need to challenge industry perceptions of who might be “right” for a certain type of role. Companies need to see the benefits of people who maybe don’t have a traditional background or education but who still have the necessary skills.

What excites you most about working in this space?

What we’re doing is incredibly relevant right now, I’m proud to be doing something to help facilitate the transition to net zero. It’s exciting that Habitat Energy is at the very forefront of the industry and we’re growing fast.  So many possibilities are opening up as more and more countries are focusing on energy storage as a solution.

Who inspires you?

I’m impressed by anyone who starts their own business which I think is an incredible leap of faith. In terms of the wider world I’m inspired by anyone who protests peacefully. Having that level of conviction and willingness to put your own safety on the line to stand up for what you believe in is incredible.

How does Habitat Energy compare with other companies you’ve worked at? 

Habitat Energy has a singular culture that I haven’t experienced before. The company has a core set of values that it hires to, that guides our behaviors and decisions, but there’s also a very open culture where people can challenge those values and instill them in different ways.

I like how flat our structure is as well. There’s the ability to really contribute to the direction of the company, to influence our success and have your ideas embraced. And while everyone works hard, there’s a real focus on supporting employees’ wellness and helping them to balance work and home life.

If you weren’t at Habitat Energy what would you be doing?

I am a video game enthusiast, so if I could find a way to play them professionally that would be great. I’m definitely not good enough to commit to a career in Esports, but I would love to be a journalist for a video game magazine. That or working in the film industry. I would accept any job or role, no matter how small, to be involved in a Star Wars movie.

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