Blessing Shumba

Blessing Shumba - a sustainable whole energy future

Blessing Shumba works as an assistant National Scheduling Engineer (aNSE) in our Control Room. He manages scheduling of our energy to make sure our electricity is reliable and also economical.

Tell us a bit about how you got to your current role - have you got any career highlights? 

Prior to joining National Grid in 2017, I have worked as a Mining Engineer, served in the British Army, worked in the City as a Trader and taught Secondary School mathematics.  My academic qualifications include a BSc Hons in Engineering and an MSc in Investment and Banking from Henley Business School. 

What do you love about engineering and specifically your role at the ESO? 

As a Strategy Engineer, I love being the first to identify potential electricity system issues and finding appropriate engineering solutions - in conjunction with other engineers. 

On such a big system there are so many potential issues to look out for, from Operating Margins and Interconnector Flows losses to identifying plants which may need to be brought online to help us balance the grid. With so much to look out for, not a single day in the office is the same! And despite all of these challenges our team manage to keep the electricity flowing and the lights on 365 days a year. 

How does your role help us towards reaching net zero? 

Part of my role in scheduling which plants should come online is to make sure that use of ‘small but greener’ generation is maximised where possible - despite the size of the potential electricity source.  If any green plant (particularly wind) is being pulled back because of a system constraint, I work with the Transmission Analysis Engineer to see if we can reduce constraints to enable the green energy to be accessible. 

By maximising the use of green energy, in this way we are reducing our reliance on carbon-heavy energy sources and helping to reduce the carbon emissions of our electricity. 

What advice would you give to any aspiring engineers? 

If you are interested in a role that involves making decisions under pressure, working with a team of experts, and finding the best solution to different challenges then you are on the right path… 

There will always be a need for Power Systems Engineers in the future as we try and solve the Energy Trilemma as a result of the three competing needs: Energy Security, Environmental Sustainability and Cost!  It’s wonderful to play a part in the drive towards a sustainable whole energy future! 

Blessing Shumba quote