Engineers are on the frontline of influencing our future and play a key role in the race against climate change.

As we embrace the digital transition, one Irish company is leading the way in decarbonisation. Today we hear how the firm has achieved rapid success in just three years of business, how they develop passionate and innovative teams and the incredible creative opportunities available to Irish engineers across Europe.

Our expert guest believes in the power of combining engineering and business and is passionate about Ireland’s ability to be world leaders in this space. He is Founder and Managing Director of Skanstec, Declan Wynne.


  • Filling the market gap for decarbonisation innovation
  • Transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy in Ireland’s grid
  • The challenges causing a race against time for engineers
  • How Ireland can be a world leader in energy and digital
  • CPD and opportunities for Irish engineers across Europe
  • The role of data centres in decarbonisation



As Founder and Managing Director, Declan Wynne leads the Skanstec Executive Management Team and sits on the company’s board. Declan has a strong Engineering background with dynamic business acumen and a human approach. Declan has over 20 years’ experience in the Engineering sector and has a passion for Engineering and sustainability.

The transition to a climate neutral society, coupled with the convergence of Digital Energy and Connectivity, inspired Declan’s vision for Skanstec to be a leading specialist Engineering company in the Energy and Telecommunication Sector with a focus on Decarbonisation and the Digital Transition.

Declan holds a Degree in Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), including Level 9 Post Grads in Project Management and Coaching.



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Engineers Journal AMPLIFIED is produced by for Engineers Ireland.



I've always had a passion for engineering and particularly a passion for business, and I think both work very much hand in hand, particularly in an Irish context. I think Irish engineers are quite good at being innovative and have a way about doing business that seems to be quite successful in many parts of the globe. - Declan Wynne


Engineering becomes more and more important in terms of what we're trying to achieve at a national level and at a global level in terms of decarbonisation, and the digital transition that we're experiencing. - Declan Wynne


The world is changing, and we've got to act, we've got to adapt. - Declan Wynne


Irish engineering businesses are dominating across Europe. It's a huge opportunity for engineers. - Declan Wynne


The data centres are absolutely fundamental to decarbonisation. We can't decarbonize without data centers. Ireland's challenge at present is power. It's not data centers in my own view, and that's something that we're proud to be involved in. - Declan Wynne



#engineering #decarbonisation #opportunity #datacentres #business #sustainability



For your convenience, we include an automated AI transcription

Dusty Rhodes  00:00

Right now on AMPLIFIED, we're about to find out how decarbonisation and the digital transition go hand in hand.


Declan Wynne  00:06

The data centres are absolutely fundamental to decarbonisation. We can't decarbonize without data centers. Ireland's challenge at present is power. It's not data centers in my own view, and that's something that we're proud to be involved in.


Dusty Rhodes  00:24

Hi there, my name is Dusty Rhodes and you're welcome to AMPLIFIED, the Engineers Journal podcast. Engineers are on the frontline of influencing our future. And one Irish company is making waves in two key areas of modern engineering, decarbonisation and the digital transition. We're about to meet an engineer who is leading the way in creating Ireland's future scaling it for international success and ensuring decarbonisation is at the forefront of it all. We find out how his firm has achieved rapid success in just three years of business, how they developed passionate and innovative teams, and the incredible creative opportunities that are available right now for Irish engineers. It's a pleasure to welcome the managing director of Skanstec Declan Wynne, how are you? I'm good, Dusty. Thanks for having me on. Listen, tell me, how did you get into the engineering game?


Declan Wynne  01:13

I've always had a passion for engineering and particularly a passion for business. And I think both work very much hand in hand, particularly in an Irish context. I think Irish engineers are quite quite good at being innovative, particularly connections and have a way about doing business that seems to be quite successful in many parts of the globe.


Dusty Rhodes  01:38

And your company is quite young, in that you've set up in the middle of the pandemic, not the cleverest ideas, some would say was what was kind of your thinking behind it the ethos of the company, and why did you set up during the pandemic? Yeah,


Declan Wynne  01:53

look, the company was founded in 2021. It wasn't a lightbulb moment or anything like that it was to serve a gap in the market. Engineering is becoming really, really important. It's always played a huge role in terms of Irish society and globally, for that matter, however, in recent years has become more and more important in terms of what we're trying to achieve at a national level and at a global level in terms of decarbonisation, and the digital transition that we're experiencing, so the business was formed without concept in mind. And, yeah, it's been an exciting journey over the past three years.


Dusty Rhodes  02:29

What would you say was the biggest challenge of setting up a brand new enterprise during the pandemic?


Declan Wynne  02:34

There are many, many challenges associated to it. But I think that's the the genesis of engineers were problem solvers. And I think the art of shoot particularly in terms of the, the Irish engineer, and people is very much around, you know, overcoming problems, solving problems, having a can do a can do attitude. And we didn't really dwell too much on the pandemic. In that sense, it was more about the future. It's an ambitious group of people, we've got a passion for what we do and what a what a clear focus on decarbonisation and tried to help combat climate change in the first instance. And also trying to capitalize and utilize what's happening from a digital transition point of view, is really the foundations of our, our business. So, you know, shortage in terms of power, is a real challenge, and probably in the last number of years has become, you know, very much a topical subject in terms of its its cost, etc. And, look, the time is right for us. And 2021 was it was it was a good time for us to embark on this journey.


Dusty Rhodes  03:38

You said that you found a gap in the market. And my understanding is that you kind of create connections between new power sources that we have and the existing power grid, which has been around for ages. How would you describe that gap in the market?


Declan Wynne  03:55

Yeah, essentially, we're a single source solution to our end clients. So we design an engineer key infrastructure, in terms of power and grids, we look at it with two aspects, we look at demand customers, so customers that have a power demand that need to bring power from the grid to the point of use, we design engineer that solution to take that power to their to their facility, and in the opposite direction where you've got a power generator. So you've got the likes of solar farms, wind farms, people that are out there, you know, development and generating power, we take power from the point of generation onto the grid. And our business around the energy is very much geared towards both of those avenues, along with the actual grid itself. So the utility side of off the grid network.


Dusty Rhodes  04:48

There are a lot of new energy sources that are becoming available. Wind power is kind of one that we would expect solar power is actually quite effective in our lives, which I was very surprised and there are others as hydro electricity Then stuff like that which are being used more and more from your point of view, because you're connecting these new power sources to the grid, what what are these new power sources and what's particularly good about them for you?


Declan Wynne  05:12

I think the first key point to what's good about them is that we're facing a major challenge in terms of climate change, we're trying to, you know, combat climate change and creating, you know, a sustainable society for future generations. That's everyone's challenge. As engineers working within that space, obviously, what we want to try and do is take as much fossil fuels off the system and replace it with clean forms of energy. And in order to do that, you've got to look at all options. Obviously, you know, wind is a big player in terms of energy in the Irish context, we have close to five gigawatt of power on the Irish network. But the wind doesn't always blow, as you know, and solar, obviously is becoming a key point hasn't got the same scale, as of yet, of course, but when we look at what we have, in terms of, you know, climate change, we look at what's coming in from Southern Europe in terms of our climate in that region. And in the opposite, we look at the likes of the Northern Europe where wind blows, through the winter months, Southern Europe gets quite quite a good temperature, and daylight throughout summer months, it's getting the mix of energy sources, right. And that's where I would see the the major opportunity for for Ireland as an as a nation in terms of meeting that transition. That's, that's necessary. So we've got to take these fossil fuels, as I mentioned, off the grid, and look at renewable sources. And in order to do that, we've got to look at all aspects of renewables. And we've got to look at how we actually engineer that. So you will hear a lot about, you know, policy planning, financial aspects in terms of how do we how do we decarbonize? How do we get to an end zero position, and they're all very, very valid points and key that they're, they're addressed. But engineering is also a big pillar in that we've got to engineer the solution, we've got to, we've got to do it in a timely manner. And it's driven by people and we are largely a business people, we innovate through our services, we're, you know, progressive in terms of what we do with our with our clients. And there's flexibility and in terms of our our service, and that's something we pride ourselves upon on I think if you look at the challenges that will face a not alone, Ireland, but what to put Europe and globally in the coming year. It's it's it's, it's a race in terms of time that we got to do this quickly, we got to do it to a standard that sustainable for the long term. A


Dusty Rhodes  07:47

race against time is quite a big statement. What do you what do you think the challenge is for us with that race?


Declan Wynne  07:54

Look, I think we can look to, you know, aspects outside of engineering at this point in time, when we look at, you know, the climate change, we look at global warming, we look at the temperature difference over a relatively short period of time, the world is changing, and we've got to we've got to act, we've got to adapt to that. So directly and indirectly, we're delighted to be involved in combating that. So I'm obviously from a from a business point of view, working in areas such as renewables, and engineering to solutions and designing and building out these renewable projects to actually bring them to life. So it's making it happen, I would describe it as, where we actually take the point of generation onto the grid, by by designing and building a grid network, and make making it real and, and, and ultimately replacing those fossil fuels. That's the first step. And then obviously, you know, indirectly I think sustainability is a word that, you know, is popping up everywhere, in terms of, you know, our debt, our day to day lives, but also in terms of our business, and we've got to pay attention to that. And from a sustainability point of view, there's a lot that we can all do in terms of sustainability. And it starts with engineering, we got to engineer the future, we've got to think about our design process, we've got to, you know, be mindful of it from from the, from the very beginning, in terms of the you know, the selection of materials, what we we spec in terms of the nature of a project and that's the key component to to obviously combat in this and and it is a race and I think there's no better nation or group of people in terms of Irish engineers to to take on that challenge and Irish engineering, businesses are dominating across Europe. It's a huge opportunity for for engineers. I've been involved in this space for quite a long time. And I don't think there's ever been as much opportunity it's it's exciting. There's there's challenges, but I think engineers are problem solvers. Irish engineers have a great can do attitude, as I mentioned, and I think that puts us in a great position to dominate the future.


Dusty Rhodes  09:59

On the subject fields Sustainability, what do you think is stopping us as an island nation from being completely self sustaining with natural power sources?


Declan Wynne  10:08

I think the things that are stopping us from achieving that, first is is time it takes time to make that change, we got to be realistic in terms of the time it takes. But we're, we're on course, to do that. I think policy is a planning are two key pillars in this and we've got to make sure that our policies right and our plan is right to enable it, there's a lot of work to happen in terms of facilitating us we've a huge resource in Ireland in terms of renewable potential, probably the greatest in the world in terms of where we're situated situated. With potentially you don't seven times the area, the land area in terms of offshore wind potential, there's seven gigawatts of power plant in terms of offshore wind, five of it that's planned by 2030, I think that will be an exceptional challenge for us. And I think what stuck on that is the the points I mentioned in terms of planning, particularly policy and infrastructure, that's theory that we specialize in in terms of the the electrical infrastructure to enable those particular projects. But there are other types of infrastructure that are required in terms of, you know, ports, access to getting such large scale equipment to, to its place, and I think we got it, we got to look to those things. And they're the barriers, people, of course, can't be underestimated, there's a huge need for engineering resource. And we've got to look at how we can address that and attract people into the market. And I think there's no better time than now to get involved in engineering. And I think there's so many different avenues to get involved in engineering, which, which is more important. So you've, you know, you've your conventional, you know, academic route where people will study a degree in university from, you know, be civil, mechanical, electrical, etc. But there's, there's new avenues emerging. And, and that's really exciting for our industry in the form of more skilled people getting involved from from a trade side from an apprenticeship perspective. And we need to be, we need to be embracing that. And we need to be promoting the opportunities and engineering, which I think is a times underestimated, and in terms of our business and our growth. You know, we have great people involved, but we have people involved from all types of engineering. And there's people that are from an engineering background that really enjoy things within the business that may not be described as your conventional engineering on a day to day basis, there's problems to be solved. And there's logistics, there's challenges, there's coming up with solutions, and coming up with those solutions within a timely manner is part of the excitement. So back to the point in relation to what's preventing us it's it's those key people, so it's it's our human resources, and it's getting our ducks in line from it from an enablement perspective.


Dusty Rhodes  13:02

Interested in you as a people is kind of one of the one of the key resources that we need in engineering in order to solve these problems, because it's something that not a lot of people say, but it's so true. Can I ask you about fossil fuels, and we've power plants, and they've been around for decades, and our grid has been around for decades as well. We're getting rid of the fossil fuel power plants, because they're kind of old technology, we just can't keep them. What about the grid? Does that need upgrading?


Declan Wynne  13:30

Absolutely. Look, you could say our whole industry that we work in is close to 100 years old at this point in time, obviously, our necrose shows the landmark piece of infrastructure in Ireland in terms of power, and ignited a whole sector. And I think it's a key piece of history. And it's been a real success story in terms of the rollout of the the 110 KV network from that back in 1927. Were close to 100 years, and there's huge advancements, since then we've close to, you know, 60 utility scale power plants in Ireland, we're got capacity of 7.5 gigawatts of power. It's a huge leap forward. But we have so much more to do. There's a lot of money going into the grid on the network. But as I mentioned in the outset, it's that transition our energy system is is changing. So the the network was designed on the basis of what we had at a given time. And it's very, very clear now that we need to move towards a completely different source of energy and that sources is renewables. And it's renewables from both, you know, onshore wind, offshore wind, solar and many others that will will come down the line and to enable that we've got to we've got to flex our system and we've got to adopt us to meet those needs and the needs for you know, renewables connecting the large scale office or wind farms from the west coast of Ireland or the south or the East Coast is is much different and requires a different grid network. And we have to build in the smarts to our network as well. And that's where connectivity is a key point to this. So we looked at heat and transport and we look at, you know, not alone, the utility companies or the developers, that's generating like, as society, you know, people in their own private domestic homes and you know, their commercial facilities are putting solar panels on the roof. They're looking at microgeneration they're looking at smart grids. This is all part of the the network and we've we've got to gear up and we've got to be prepared for that. And we're on the right road, I think. I think we've got the key stakeholders in our industry onboard that is doing some some great work, but it's a race to time we've got to accelerate and we got to do a quick


Dusty Rhodes  15:55

a huge driver for your company has gotten stuck is decarbonisation, that how important is engineering in the context of decarbonisation?


Declan Wynne  16:04

It's hugely important because we need to, if we look at sustainability, and we look at, you know, ESG, we talk about how do we save the planet like, this is, this is a global, a global challenge. It's about future generations. And when we look at how we're going to actually do it, we need to engineer those solutions. And not alone, do we need to engineer them for, you know, today and tomorrow, but we need to engineer them for the future in terms of sustainability. And that's often by making the right choices. It might not be the cheapest, it might not be the fastest. It's about actually what sustainable what's, what's the right foundation blocks to put in place for the for the future. So when we look at, you know, connectivity, we look at Super grades we look at trying to build a network that will serve us into the future. decarbonisation is a is key to that. And that can only be achieved through through real good solid engineering. And and I think Ireland is hugely positioned to be a leader not it's been a leader in many areas of engineering, it's got reputation globally, for its engineering ability. And particularly in in our particular sector at present. As I mentioned, Irish engineering companies are dominating across Europe in terms of specialist engineering services. And, you know, construction, as a sector is is a huge piece of the economy. It's one of our fastest and largest growing sectors. And it's a it's a big player to the wider economy. And we got to make the right choices in terms of what we what we design and introducing to the system in Florida for the future. You


Dusty Rhodes  17:44

say that Ireland could be a leader or is a leader in the world of energy and digital. Have you any, like examples of projects that show this particularly with the decarbonisation?


Declan Wynne  17:55

Yeah, there's numerous scenarios where we can look to that if we look at some of the largest infrastructure projects in this sector, across Europe, there's multiple Irish businesses involved. And each of those schemes is very few projects across Europe where Irish engineering companies don't pop up and appear and they're appearing there because they're their leaders. And we got we got to take note of that. And I would encourage, you know, people that are thinking about getting into engineering to to stand back and look at the opportunities in engineering, both in terms to profession, but also in terms of the career experience, opportunity to travel engineering is a is a global passport, I would describe it as it's, it's an opportunity to go to many places. And when we talk about large scale renewable projects, when we speak about data center connections, data center market is huge across Europe, and Irish engineering companies are dominant in that space. So we're well recognized. And I think we're well welcomed is probably a key point as well, right from the AF, there's a there's a can do attitude. It's a case of we can get this done. And I think that's what engineer needs at this point in time it needs it needs people that can grab hold of problems can innovate, the pace is fast, we see the likes of you know, AI coming down the tracks, power demands are increase. And we all want to be super connected, not just at our, you know, our office location or home or home office location. As soon as we step out into the car, we had down the street, we want to be connected at all times. And that's infrastructure and and that's that's engineering and I think Irish engineering staff have flown the flag really, really well, today's and I think we've positioned ourselves to be a major player for the future. Let


Dusty Rhodes  19:46

me ask you about engineers because we're talking about travel and working abroad. Firstly, kind of like a lot of people go to Australia, you're talking about a lot of people working in Europe, in your own experience. Where do you You see, or hear engineers going around the world? Where do they go?


Declan Wynne  20:05

Yeah, look, I think we're at a difficult time particularly for for young people and graduates on the back of, you know, pandemic and maybe we're opportunities weren't as plentiful to, to travel for various reasons. On people now we're looking to explore, what I would say is that there are other opportunities to explore it in Europe and closer to home. So we see a lot of people go into Australia, we see a lot of people going to Canada, and places such as that, but often we don't stop and think what's on our doorstep. There's some of the leading engineering companies in Ireland that are dominated, as I said, across Europe. And that's a huge engineering opportunity. So if you want to travel and see the the Nordics, you want to see Southern Europe, you want to see mainland Europe while progressing your career and being at the forefront of prestigious engineering projects. That opportunity exists. And because of technological advancements, you know, engineering, first principles remain, but the day to day activity is fast changing. And I think that's quite exciting. So you might get someone who may want to progress a career in in it or in a different, particular swimlane. But engineering is actually a solution, because there are so many options in engineering at the moment. And engineering companies have to embrace that and have to promote that.


Dusty Rhodes  21:27

Speaking of opportunities for engineers, can I ask you about scan Tech, I mean, it's an engineers, Ireland CPD accredited employer, it sounds like you really invest in your people. How important is that continuous development for you?


Declan Wynne  21:42

It's hugely important. Dustin, I think, you know, any, any company that underestimates that will face challenges into the future, because as much as we have all the technological advancements, we still have to deliver through human connection, we have to develop people. And the engineers, Ireland is CPD framework is a super platform to develop people. It's universal, it's not restricted to to Ireland or, you know, you can apply it to anywhere you operate. And it gives an opportunity for people to see a pathway in terms their career, and it gives the the employer the opportunity to identify the gaps to work on the developmental areas that are needed in order to advance people in both their careers, but also in terms of their skill set. And to be able to match that with the needs. That's that's facing facing companies. And I think for for the engineers themselves in terms of CPD, I think entering a business where you, you have that mindset in place, is hugely, hugely important, because it's a clear pathway to progression, there's something visible, and there's something that can work towards. And I think that's important. We all need development in what we do. And at the pace, the industry has gone out at present, it's never been as important. And


Dusty Rhodes  23:08

there's a huge amount of information but I always say there's libraries of information that literally is on the on the engineers Ireland website, take a look at that. But Declan talking to talk and walk the walk are two different things. So you speak very eloquently about continuous development. Can I ask you how you have embraced continuous learning in your own career?


Declan Wynne  23:27

Yeah, look, it's it's something that we tried to put a lot of focus on in the business and in order to, to lead that you've got to put a focus on your own development. And I think every day is a is a learning day, you don't often need a very formal structured course to develop. So there's coaching and mentoring that takes place in terms of the workplace. So I think the leadership side is is usually usually important. I've always had a passion for for engineering, but equally for business. And I think to survive in business you've got to be prepared for, for change. And to be ready for change, you've got to develop and you've got to continually develop and that's something that I've always put an emphasis on. So I've got I've got an engineering background, I have an MBA from DCU and a few poor scribes that I focus on continue to try and get involved in in programs to progress and advance in terms of my own personal development and performance but equally to be able to, to share that experience and and champion it from from the company level. Yeah,


Dusty Rhodes  24:31

also last year, you were an EY Arland Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Is that kind of a good learning experience? Or is it kind of more ego kind of thing?


Declan Wynne  24:44

Definitely not the latter. It's It's hugely it's hugely progressive in terms of learning. My experience on the white program has been super first and foremost a I could not be involved in something like that. If it wasn't for our team that's gonna stick. It's our people in The business that presents the opportunity in terms of where the business is to get that recognition, I am at the helm of it. But we wouldn't be there if we didn't have a strong team behind us. In terms that earn in throughout, its massive we learned so much from from one another. I think network and connection are two key things in terms of success within Irish engineers, we've seemed to have an a natural pedigree for, for making connection. And we do that seamlessly in Ireland and even abroad. And I think, you know, companies overseas recognize that when when, when the see the Irish go Monday, they kind of feel that these guys will get it done that, you know, how and when and where it are other questions. But there's there's a belief factor. And I think from the away experience in terms of meeting like minded people, particularly from, you know, an entrepreneurship perspective, it's usually positive on and on a major learning in terms of my own career. Now,


Dusty Rhodes  25:58

listen, I haven't asked you too much about your own company scan stick, and you've been saying that you work kind of a lot around Europe, are you able to give us kind of an idea of the kind of projects that you're involved in? Yeah,


Declan Wynne  26:10

look, we're, as you mentioned, we're a relatively young company. At present, we employ close to 150 people, we have three regional European office locations, Ireland and Lisbon, in Portugal for our Iberian inserta marketplace. And we've regional office up in Denmark for the Nordics. We're currently delivering life projects across seven different European locations. And that's for a mix of clients, mainly multinationals, and utility type clients focusing on largely renewables and and data centers. Telecommunications is also a key component to to our business. And we're delighted to be working for some global brands in terms of telecommunications and delivering those across Europe also, which is really, really important.


Dusty Rhodes  27:02

And CZ mentioned data centers. Let me finish by asking about data centers, because what has been so you talk to you, but sometimes it can be a bit of a dirty word. And data centers here in Ireland are hogging nearly 20% of the entire electricity supply. And that's, that's going to grow. Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? How do you see it?


Declan Wynne  27:20

Data centers are absolutely fundamental to decarbonisation. And I think it's a, it's an education piece. We can't decarbonize without data centers. What is Ireland's challenge at present is is power. It's not data centers in, in my own view, clearly, there are huge, you know, energy draws from data centers, that's a given. However, in terms of what data centers do, it's really, really important that we have data centers, and we need more and more data centers, Europe is absolutely growing rapidly in terms of the data center market. And that's essential for decarbonisation, achieving a net zero position. I think in terms of the Irish context, it's probably getting greater focus, because there's a pressure on power. And particularly over the last number of years, there's been a huge emphasis on the cost of power, and not set everyone under their back pocket is, as we all know, and ultimately, that's the race for time. But I spoke about earlier in terms that we've got to replace fossil fuels, we've got to bring on a cleaner form of energy onto our system, a cleaner source of energy, and we've got to adjust and transition our energy system to enable that to happen. And that's something that we're proud to be involved in. And I think it's something that has to be the focus. And if we look at, you know, solving the problem, I think it's there, we need to look at not my data centers. And


Dusty Rhodes  28:49

it's fair to say then that the number one thing that we need to get those problems sorted as engineers.


Declan Wynne  28:55

Absolutely. And you know, we look, we look at engineering, we look at, you know, remote work, and we look at connectivity, data centers are central to all of those areas, in terms of people, it's people that design and build them. And if we look at, you know, the need for engineers, now more than ever, engineers aren't needed. If we look at people that might go into, you know, policy change to to make an impact in terms of the future. That's something that's important to them. If you're thinking about engineering, you can also look at engineering in the context how it can play a part in terms of changing our future our future for for generations to come. And that's where I'd say the major opportunity lies presently in both home and abroad.


Dusty Rhodes  29:42

Well, listen, if anything we've been chatting about on the podcast today is kind of sparking your imagination, or you're kind of looking for more opportunities and you want to find out more about Declan Wynne and Skanstec or some of the topics that we spoke about in general, you'll find notes and link details in the description area of this podcast, but for now, Declan Wynne managing director of Skanstec, Thank you very much for joining us.



Thanks dusty. Thanks for having us on


Dusty Rhodes  30:09

If you enjoyed our podcast today, do share it with a friend in the business. Just tell them to search for Engineers Ireland in their podcast player. The podcast is produced by for Engineers Ireland for advanced episodes, more information on engineering across the country or career development opportunities, which we mentioned, there are libraries of information on our website at Until next time from myself, Dusty Rhodes, thank you for listening.