Senior Engineer – Renewable Energy
Who do you work for?
I work for AECOM in the Renewable Generation team of the Resources, Power and Industrial end market. AECOM is a global engineering consultancy firm that design, build, finance, operate and manage infrastructure projects for sectors such as power, transport, industrial, environment and buildings.
What does your job involve?
I’m focused on wind, solar and energy storage project development, which involves a range of activities such as climbing wind turbines, project management and energy generation modelling. My job also involves energy advisory work, where we get to think big picture about the renewable energy industry such as understanding the impacts of distributed generation on the networks from a technical, regulatory and market perspective.
Why did you choose to work in the renewable energy industry?
Environmental sustainability is very important to me so working in the renewable energy industry aligned with my values because you get to actively transition Australia towards a low carbon future.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love seeing a renewable energy project get constructed and I particularly love climbing wind turbines because it’s tough on the way up but the view from the top is always rewarding.
What has been one of your recent achievements?
At the beginning of the year, I was promoted to senior engineer so I’m thankful and proud that my achievements have been recognised.
What do you hope to do in the future?
In the future, I hope to be the lead owner’s engineer for a wind farm project during construction. I’ve supported the owner’s engineer role during development and construction on various wind farm projects but it would be great to have my own project.
What are some of the benefits that engineers have in their job?
Definitely the benefits are travelling and going out onto a construction site as well as attending professional development sessions like the Clean Energy Council’s Wind Industry Forum.
What subjects did you study at the senior level of secondary school?
I studied French, Studies of Religion, advanced mathematics, advanced English, physics and chemistry in high school.
What training did you have to become an engineer?
Well, I actually studied chemical engineering and decided in my last year to become more mechanical to increase my chances of getting a renewable energy job so I took a few mechanical subjects and focused my thesis on solar thermal systems. Then, when I started in the AECOM Environmentally Sustainable Development team I was fortunate to have great mentors who taught me on the job how to interface with electrical, mechanical, civil, hydraulic and fire engineers on buildings projects which helped me transition into the Renewable Generation team.
How do you use mathematics in your job?
In my job, you need an understanding of where the sun is in the sky so I use a lot of geometry, Pythagoras’ Theorem and trigonometry (I still use ‘SOH CAH TOA’ to remember the functions!). I also use mathematics with the help of excel spreadsheets to perform cost-benefit analyses, to size up energy storage and solar systems, and to graph trends such as historical electricity prices.
What is your advice to students?
Give engineering studies a go because you learn life skills, which are applicable to a wide variety of jobs. You get more opportunities with an engineering degree so you have more choice of where you want to go even if it deviates from engineering. Some of my friends have gone to management consulting firms, banks, and even marketing.