Linn Helland is Local Market Director for "Planning & Urban Design" and Head of Ramboll Energy’s Oslo department. Together with an extraordinary two-year project regarding sustainable Norwegian aviation biofuel, she has led a variety of renewable energy projects. She finds great satisfaction in motivating people and works hard to develop the skills of her team.
How would you describe your job?
As head of my team, I manage a department of nine highly skilled engineers. Besides project management, I deal with long-term issues such as strategy processing, recruiting, and the development and well-being of my team. Together, we offer consultancy within district energy, energy for transport, energy planning, power transmission and hydropower.
An important task for me is to find the best and most exciting projects for my staff, and I try to motivate my team by giving them a lot of responsibility. I want to help build their qualities and make sure they become experts within an additional field so they have more than one leg to stand on. It’s good to be adaptable and have a strong competence-base if the energy market turns against you, as we’ve seen happen in recent years.
What is the most exciting project you have worked on?
In 2012, I was project manager for the development of a rather extensive report. We looked into the possibility of producing sustainable aviation biofuel in an economically viable way in Norway. The project timeframe was two years, and our main goal was to estimate a production cost per litre for sustainable Jet A-1 fuel with Norwegian feedstock towards 2020-25. We assessed the whole value chain, from growing and harvesting of feedstock, processing and refining, to fuel delivered at the airport. Read more about the project here.
Through the project, we worked with five research firms which resulted in many discussions and opinions. One challenge was to include all angles but still base the results on facts. It was an exciting project which got a lot of attention in the media, and in the end we found that it was in fact feasible to facilitate a sustainable and renewable biofuel production by 2020-25 in Norway.
Today, we see the first sustainable Norwegian test flights using old food oil as biofuel. It will be exciting to follow the development and see if the profitability is there to make it interesting for investors.
What drives you in your work?
I was appointed by Ramboll in 2010 to build up something new and develop the Oslo energy department from scratch. Therefore, I have a sense of ownership. I’m very engaged in and proud of my staff, and I feel that it’s my responsibility to make the department flourish and grow.
In my career, I’ve been involved in all types of renewable projects within district heating, hydropower, wind, solar and geothermal energy. I realised early that I fit quite well into an engineering environment with my technical interests, and I enjoy working with renewable energies. I think my work contributes to a better society, and with today’s resource scarcity I feel it’s important to find more sustainable ways to work with energy efficiency.
How does your professional passion affect your personal interests?
My interest within renewables is something I bring home. I bought an electric car, the Nissan Leaf, which I enjoy driving and am very fond of. My husband and I also purchased an energy efficient house in Oslo with heat pump solutions and low electricity consumption. I think that everyone is able to contribute to a healthier environment in their own way, and that many small contributions brought together can have an essential impact on our exposed planet.
When I’m not spending time with my two young daughters, I enjoy outdoor activities such as cross country skiing and hiking in the Norwegian mountains. I also sing in a big band; we’re twenty musicians who play all sorts of genres such as jazz, blues and sometimes disco. I’ve been singing since I was eight and I joined the band eleven years ago, so music is a big part of my life.
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