Alicia Webb

Job title:

Policy Manager

Who do you work for?

Clean Energy Council. The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is the trade association representing hundreds of renewable energy companies across Australia. We support our members in creating a cleaner energy system for Australia.

Where is your job based?

Melbourne

What does your job involve?

I work with the renewable energy industry. Sometimes I plan events and conferences, sometimes I write reports or lead projects that help us to improve as a sector. I also represent the industry by engaging with different levels of government or other stakeholders. For example I write submissions to inquiries and processes that affect our sector.

Why did you choose to work in this sector?

I’ve loved wind farms for as long as I can remember. I fundamentally believe that Australia can and should transition its electricity sector away from fossil fuels and towards clean, modern renewable energy.

My first graduate role out of uni was at a large control systems company, but I had my eyes peeled for a wind industry job and left within my first year to work at Vestas, a global wind turbine company based in Denmark. I worked as a project assistant on the Yambuk wind farm in South West Victoria, which was constructed during 2005 and 2006 and it was amazing to see a wind farm constructed and commissioned. After that I worked as a technical consultant wind engineer, specialising in the design and installation of wind monitoring masts, and wind energy modelling and analysis. I left there to work in a non-profit organisation helping communities build renewable energy projects and eventually found myself working with the Australian wind industry at the Clean Energy Council.

What is the most rewarding part of your current job?

I like the people in the renewable energy sector. I think they’re a great bunch, who all believe in what they’re doing and who all believe in a better, cleaner Australia. I like knowing that I’m a small part of a large movement of people trying to create important change.

What has been one of your recent achievements?

With the help of the CEC team I put on the 2016 Wind Industry Forum, a one day technical conference for the Australian wind industry. It sold out with hundreds of attendees and the industry had a great day.

What is the most challenging part of your current job?

The big challenge is trying to represent all of my member companies fairly. There are lots of different types of companies and that means lots of different experiences and points of view. I have to be able to listen carefully but also apply my own common sense and come up with what I think is a reasonable average of their views.

What do you hope to do in the future?

In the future I’ll be continuing to work on whatever it takes for Australia to meet our international climate commitments. It’s such an important task and Australia has a long road ahead of it.  At the moment I think transitioning the electricity sector is a key part of that – but there will be other challenges ahead.

What are some of the benefits of your job?

My job helps the wind industry to get together, share ideas, and learn from each other. We discuss our successes and our challenges and that means a better, stronger wind sector.

What training did you have for this job?

Upper secondary school (What school did you attend? What subjects did you study in the final year?) I studied at a small school in the suburbs of Perth, and I did two maths, physics, chemistry and English.

After secondary school I got a bachelor of engineering with first class honours from the University of Western Australia.

Why is mathematics important in your job?

Maths was very important in my engineering career, but these days I tend to do basic arithmetic such as converting units and applying capacity factors to estimate energy output.

How do you use digital technologies in your job?

In my previous jobs I’ve used a suite of wind energy software including fluid flow models. At the Clean Energy Council, our events team use planning software and I use spreadsheets and multimedia presentations.

What career advice would you give to school students interested in a similar career?

I would say research what companies and agencies exist in the renewable energy sector, and try to decide where your passion lies. It’s a big sector and we need all different types of skills, from electricians to lawyers, writers, coders, administrators and even mathematicians. Once you know who you want to work for and what skills you can bring, start having coffees with people. Most professionals will respond positively to an enthusiastic young person who has done their research and is offering to buy them a coffee.