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