Date Posted... Mar 24th 2021




Lucy Cotton CO09

An exciting career in geothermal energy

Lucy Cotton CO09, joined Truro School in 2004, in the 3rd year following in the footsteps of other family members including, Juliet Dunbar CO91 (cousin), and Roger Dunbar, TS 1964 –2006 (uncle) who taught Classics and Ancient History for many years.

Lucy enjoyed her time at Truro School and has lots of fond memories, most of which include friends from the same cohort many of whom still live in Cornwall: Charlie Murray, Morwenna Scott, Bethany Stivey (née Milton), Rachel Chetwynd-Cowieson, Andy Sidebotham, Viliana Dzhartova, Sophie Hicks, Claire Powers, Izzy Bland, Tim Sykes, Emily James, Lizzie Moore (all CO09).

“We were a very close year group and it’s nice to still share that sense of community. I loved all the opportunities available through sport and music and some of my happiest times were spent in the music department or on choir trips.”

Lucy describes being introduced to geology at A-level as a “pivotal moment” in her life. “As soon as I started studying geology, I knew it was the right fit for me. The amazing geology room at Truro School fuelled my enthusiasm and imagination for the subject, ultimately resulting in my career choice.”

During her gap year Lucy contacted GeoScience Limited, a company based in Falmouth. The MD and Chairman, Dr Tony Batchelor, an Old Truronian parent and part of the Truro School Connected initiative offered Lucy work experience with GeoScience Ltd which she thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend as it can be helpful when making career choices.

“There will be work experience placements available again once we emerge from the pandemic restrictions and more opportunities are becoming available in the industry, and it’s an exciting time.”

Lucy completed a BSC in Geology at Cardiff University and after graduating travelled, first to Australia for six months, working for the Wilderness Society and then living in Indonesia for 2½ years, teaching English and working as a surf photographer for Surfcamp Lombok, in a small fishing village called Gerupuk. This is where Lucy met her partner Simon (now a Truro firefighter).
In 2015 Lucy returned to her studies and embarked on a MSc. in Exploration and Field Geology at University College Cork, Ireland. Once she had completed her Masters degree, she returned to GeoScience Ltd as a Senior Geologist.

“As a geologist my technical role can be really varied. Until May 2020, I was working as the Project Geologist for the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project. Geothermal was particularly attractive because I could use all the essential skills I was taught during my geology degree and apply them towards something that is positive for the environment. More recently, however, I’ve been working on desktop feasibility studies for geothermal heat projects all over the country. The potential of this renewable resource is enormous and very exciting. I also do a lot of communication work, educating people about geothermal energy and its uses. I really enjoy this aspect of my role as I get to work with young people – and who knows, maybe inspire them?”

Lucy is part of the Truro School Connected initiative working with Nancy Kenward (TS Head of Careers) participating in the school ‘Industry Talks’ programme offering advice on careers in geology.

“There are many different routes into the natural resources sector, whether it’s renewable energy or critical metals, and I would urge anyone who is interested in this career path to explore what it is they’re passionate about and pursue it. I would also say don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. I give a lot of careers talks but only a handful of people reach out to me and those are the ones that tend to get remembered. This new virtual world is actually really good for creating a network with people who are usually hard to reach so take advantage of it.”

Lucy is in regular contact with Mr Mark Vanstone, Truro School Director of Studies and Geology Teacher, who has played a major part in setting up the “Raspberry Shake” programme for schools which was created to help identify natural and induced seismic events around the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project. Lucy explains Mr Vanstone has been an absolute hero and taken the seismic monitoring project to the next level – what he can’t identify on a ‘Raspberry Shake’ monitor really isn’t worth knowing. I am very grateful for his continued support and help.”

Lucy’s adventurous nature means she enjoys time outdoors and is happiest when she is with her friends and family exploring the Cornish coastline or in the sea, surfing, swimming, or paddle boarding. She still really enjoys music, playing guitar and “chilling out in the evening, cooking some tasty food and relaxing with a movie or a good book”.


Plans for the future?

“My immediate plan is to emerge from lockdown unscathed. Life has definitely been different, and it’s been important to take things day by day rather than setting too many goals. In the long term, I would like to keep developing geothermal energy in Cornwall and preparing the next generation to take the reins, and of course keep surfing as much as possible”.

STOP PRESS: Exciting news!

Lucy has been nominated as the UK Ambassador for Women in Geothermal (WING), a global network that aims to promote the education, professional development, and advancement of women in the geothermal community. Her role will entail leading the committee and implementing new initiatives

“I’m really happy to have the opportunity to lead such a dedicated committee of women (and men) in the quest for equality in the industry. I’m very proud of what we have accomplished this year despite setbacks with Covid. I hope we can continue to inspire the next generation of girls to get involved with geothermal energy.”

Morwenna Scott, Lucy Cotton, Emily James, Charlie Murray, Rachel Chetwynd-Cowieson, Bethany Stivey (née Milton) and Sophie Hicks  before their 10yr school reunion

Lucy and her boyfriend, Simon

Lucy on a field trip to Iceland, next to Hellisheidi geothermal plant

Lucy and her boss by the drilling rig at United Downs

Lucy "up a mountain with 'Miss Molecule'"- the cartoon character Lucy uses to explain how geothermal energy works.

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