Q&A: Talking with Principal Consultant – Power, Jarrad Rosser
Proud science/tech nerd, Jarrad Rosser talks career, his role in helping South Australia become a world leader in renewables and what he enjoys about being part of #OurJacobs.
In a world undergoing rapid transformation, we need problem-solvers and innovative solutions to challenge the way we work today and into tomorrow.
As we operate against a backdrop of a growing, population, changing climatic conditions and increased demand for our services, this is especially relevant to how we tackle global decarbonization.
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 Jarrad Rosser, Jacobs’ Principal Consultant – Power, to talk about what sparked his interest in pursuing a career in power, the benefits of decarbonizing the grid, and the opportunities that working for Jacobs’ has given him over the last 14 years. Read more in this Jacobs.com interview.
Tell us a bit about what you do at Jacobs.
My background is in electrical engineering, but my main role and experience is supporting our clients to develop and construct power plant projects, including wind farms and solar farms. I work on projects from pre-feasibility and concept stage through to construction and commissioning with a multi-disciplinary view including contracting strategies, risk management and project management.
What sparked your interest in an energy/sustainability career?
I’ve been interested in the electrical grid since I studied subjects on it at university. This stems from a general interest in large systems and understanding how the world functions. Since working, I’ve got specifically involved in renewables – it’s a combination of cutting-edge technology and helping the environment which both appeal to me.
What’s your favorite part of your role?
I’m a really passionate learner and problem solver so I enjoy anything that’s a new challenge. Working for a large consulting company means every project is different and there are always things to learn, whether that’s solar plant energy yield modelling, configuration of data visuals in PowerBI or wind turbine tower rescue training.
Working in the renewables sector, technology is changing rapidly so I expect challenges to continue for many years to come as this opens up new areas, such as green hydrogen.
Your work as a Principal Engineer helps to develop renewable energy power generation and energy storage. Can you share how renewables and storage shapes the world around us?
Decarbonising the grid is not only a key means of reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions from thermal power plant, it’s also a first step to phasing out fossil fuel usage in a number of other industries that contribute to climate change. For example, household fuel usage can be transitioned to electric appliances and transport can move to electric or hydrogen vehicles all powered from renewable sources of electricity.
Renewable energy and electric appliance or vehicles have other benefits such as quieter streets, lower maintenance requirements and reductions in air pollution.
What’s something interesting that you learned recently?
I listened to a really interesting podcast with energy expert, Saul Griffith, about the overall transition to renewable energy. The key point was that the technology is now available to move nearly all industries away from fossil fuels, but more policy focus and investment is needed to scale the technology and accelerate that change. There are also some good examples of legacy regulations that unintentionally limit renewable energy implementation. Simon Holmes-a-court does similar work raising public awareness in the Australian context.
As a science/tech nerd, I think a future of high-tech solutions to the current climate change issues (battery storage, smart grids, electric cars, vehicle-to-grid, heat pumps, etc) is cool - independent of the important environmental benefits. I own an electric car and I see it as an exciting future rather than something to be concerned about.
Most interesting career moment?
I previously worked for Jacobs in Malaysia and got the chance to visit some remote parts of southeast Asia that I’d be very unlikely to see as a tourist – small islands in the Philippines, central Kalimantan in Indonesia and walking across a proposed wind farm site in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Proudest career moment?
As a graduate with Jacobs, I was lucky to work on a number of early wind farms built in the mid-north of South Australia. There’s a lot of satisfaction driving past projects that you were on site for when they were constructed.
At the time, South Australia was targeting 30% renewable energy, one of the highest percentages in the world. In 2019-2020, the state reached 60% renewable energy though wind and solar, reached 100% renewables for shorter periods of time and is now a net exporter of power across the state border to Victoria.
It’s not well-known in the general community that South Australia is a world leader in renewables and I’m proud to have been involved in that both at the early stages in the 2000s and continuing on today with new renewable and battery storage projects.
If you aren’t in the office, what would we be most likely to find you doing?
I have three young children so that keeps me busy every day outside of work. Apart from that, I enjoy following politics and public policy, playing tennis, supporting Port Adelaide in the AFL (Australian rules football) and watching TV shows like The Expanse.
People would be surprised to know that I….
Previously lived in China and can speak Mandarin. I also lived in Malaysia for more than seven years working on power projects in southeast Asia and leading the power team.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?
I enjoy working for a global company that provides opportunities to live in different countries, work on various projects and learn from excellent engineers, scientists, and consultants across so many disciplines. I’ve always had great workmates to create a friendly environment and managers or mentors that have supported my career aspirations. I’ve never felt like I’ve been pigeon-holed and limited to certain types of work prescribed by others.
More recently, I’m happy that Jacobs has recognised the power sector as a major component if its business going forward and has committed, through our Climate Action Plan, to helping solve the climate crisis by achieving and maintaining 100% renewable energy, net zero carbon for the company's operations and business travel in 2020 and carbon negative for its operations and business travel by 2030.
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 Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.