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Q&A: Talking with Liam Schwartz, Jacobs Renewable Energy Engineer

Liam Schwartz shares with us what a day at work as a Renewable Energy Engineer typically involved, some of the interesting things he’s worked on and encouraging news about electric vehicles. He also tells us what he enjoys about being part of #OurJacobs.

At Jacobs, we think differently about the future because today’s climate change challenge demands innovative approaches to deliver a more connected, sustainable world.

With a fierce commitment to the spaces we inhabit, both globally and environmentally, we’re continually reinvigorating our efforts to be responsible stewards of the natural world, as we contribute forward-thinking sustainable solutions for our clients.

In our ‘future of energy’ series, we’re getting to know the next generation of leaders who are solving the world’s most pressing challenges in sustainability and will shape the energy industry of tomorrow.

For this interview, we connected virtually with Liam Schwartz, Jacobs’ Renewable Energy Engineer to find out a little bit about what he does at Jacobs and what sparked his interest in renewable technologies. Read more in this Jacobs.com interview.

Tell us a bit about what you do at Jacobs.

I am a Renewable Energy Engineer based in Melbourne, working on multiple renewable technologies including wind, solar, geothermal, battery storage and renewable hydrogen projects. Day to day, I may be working on a solar energy yield assessment, an owner’s engineer project for a wind farm, operational data analysis, or anything off a long list of other things!

What sparked your interest in an energy/sustainability career? 

I have been interested in renewable energy and sustainability since my high school days (including mentioning it way back in my university application). The universal need for energy around the globe has always fascinated me, which naturally led me to wanting to dedicate my career to it.

Liam on site with a solar panel

 

What’s your favorite part of your role?

Connecting and working together with so many people from different disciplines at Jacobs is my favourite part of my role. Collaborating regularly with multiple engineering, environmental and sustainability disciplines, as well as colleagues all around the world, allows me to learn new things every day and work on a huge range of different projects.

Your work as a Renewable Energy Engineer helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make the global energy mix more sustainable. Can you share how renewable energy shapes the world around us?

The energy sector has evolved a lot in recent years, with increasing uptake in renewable generation helping to reduce our impact on the environment and lead us towards international climate goals such as the Paris Agreement. For example, Tasmania recently reached 100% renewable generation, and back home in the UK renewable electricity surpassed fossil fuel generation in 2020. These milestones are very significant steps in reducing the effects of climate change, and it is incredibly fulfilling to work on projects that allow more of these milestones to be reached.

You were recently involved in a webinar on assessing the risk of climate change on renewable energy development. Can you tell us a bit about that?

I recently presented at a webinar in Indonesia hosted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, speaking about the wind resource assessment process and how the impacts of climate change can increase uncertainty when assessing a new project. The webinar helped public and private sector stakeholders better understand the risks associated with renewable energy projects, and the mitigation actions that can be taken.

What’s something you learned in the last week?

Worldwide sales of electric vehicles increased by an estimated 40% in 2020, despite a drop in overall global vehicle sales. This is really encouraging news regarding the energy transition and decarbonisation of transport and will be a huge help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Liam site gear selfie

 

Most interesting career moment?

Making the move from the U.K. to Australia and beginning my role at Jacobs, working on all renewable energy technologies while meeting some amazing people.

Proudest career moment?

Seeing a new wind farm through from the start of construction to project completion and commercial operation, with regular site visits to monitor progress and resolve issues. The wind farm comprised the most powerful onshore wind turbines in the UK at the time.

If you aren’t in the office, what would we be most likely to find you doing?

Listening to and playing music, hiking, video calling family and friends back in the U.K., or exploring new places in Melbourne and around Australia.

People would be surprised to know that I…

…also have experience in the oil and gas sector. After leaving university I spent four years working as a Reservoir Engineer. While my goal was always to work in renewable energy, I learned a huge amount about the energy sector as a whole during that time and apply a lot of the skills I developed in that role to my work today.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?

Working with so many great people, both in Melbourne and around the world. Collaborating with colleagues from other disciplines makes no two days the same, allowing me to constantly learn new things and work on exciting projects.

About Jacobs

At Jacobs, we're challenging today to reinvent tomorrow by solving the world's most critical problems for thriving cities, resilient environments, mission-critical outcomes, operational advancement, scientific discovery and cutting-edge manufacturing, turning abstract ideas into realities that transform the world for good. With $14 billion in revenue and a talent force of approximately 55,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of professional services including consulting, technical, scientific and project delivery for the government and private sector. Visit jacobs.com and connect with Jacobs on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

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