“The right solution in the right circumstances is paramount to fully realise project objectives and drivers”

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22 November 2017

Q&A with Taraz Saba, GHD’s Project Director, Renewables. Taraz has 25 years’ experience in engineering and has been involved in project implementation for a number of international renewable projects including more than 17,000 MW of wind.

Why is wind your passion?

I am originally from Yazd, the Persian City of Windcatchers, and was brought up in an area of Iran (Sistan) where vertical-axis windmills originated – so I guess you could say my interest in windmills is in my blood. When I was a kid, I built my own model windmill and placed it on the roof of our house. It could light up a small torch light bulb.

Thankfully, my recent experience is more notable as Technical Lead at Hornsdale Wind Farm – the largest recently constructed wind farm in Australia. It has been built as three back-to-back stages with the last stage currently nearing completion. In partnership with Tesla, this project also integrates the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world.

What changes are you seeing in the energy sector?

Our transformation from the existing power grid to the energy system of the future is both challenging and exciting. Australia has a strong history in coal fired power generation; we are now seeing a shift in mindsets towards acceptance of renewable power generation technologies as key contributors to our generation mix. The renewable industry has grown significantly in the past two decades in Australia – starting from a handful of projects, to a significant power contributor to our electricity network. In the past two years, the renewable industry has enjoyed exponential growth, creating a real shortage of specialist skills. There is a positive growing industry collaboration to develop more academic resources to better exchange technical knowledge and transfer project learnings.

Biggest asset?

The right solution in the right circumstances is paramount to fully realise project objectives and drivers for my clients.

By providing insight into enabling technologies, participating in the project implementation process and drawing from industry-leading thinking, our clients can build a sustainable competitive advantage. For me, it comes down to the Baha’i teaching of ‘let deeds, not words, be your adorning’.

How do you see your role in shaping a renewable future?

As a technical consultant, I need to be both analytical and practical, solution oriented and cognisant of commercial and contractual realities of our power industry.

I work closely with renewable power players, who range from landowners, developers, policy-makers, financiers and investors, legal counsels, planners, technical and commercial advisors on a variety of opportunities.

I am very fortunate to have been involved with full cycle of wind power projects from conception to completion and commissioning. My career began in manufacturing and product design and when I got into wind, I used to do a fair deal of number crunching and analytical work on wind flow modelling and wind farm design.

About GHD

GHD has provided services to more than 60 Australian renewable projects over the last two years, cementing an impeccable track-record in emerging technologies including solar, wind and hydro. International collaboration ensures robust solutions for all clients seeking operational improvements to meet market demand for cleaner, cheaper more reliable energy sources.

 

Taraz Saba

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