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Engineering student discovers a career in renewables and doesn’t look back

Su-Yong Oh hadn’t considered a career in renewable energy until he began working as a project control assistant on the Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub, an SEC and Equis co-investment to build one of the world’s biggest batteries in Plumpton Victora.

Su-Yong Oh

Su-Yong is a project control assistant with the Samsung-Genus, which is providing engineering expertise on the project.

“I wasn’t particularly interested in the renewables sector until I ended up working on this project,” Su-Yong says. “Now it’s an interest. You can see real growth in this sector and how much money is being spent. There is strong interest from government and corporations. It’s a growing sector.”

The SEC is investing $245 million with Equis Australia to develop the giant battery project, which will deliver 1.6 gigawatt hours of energy storage, enough to power 200,000 homes during peak periods.

Su-Yong joined the project team in December 2023, combining his role with full-time engineering studies at Monash University. He works 25 hours a week between classes and supports the project team in various ways.

“Samsung-Genus is the principal contractor, which means we are responsible for delivering the project safely, on time, on budget and as efficiently as possible,” Su-Yong says.

“I do whatever the control team needs help with. It might mean reaching out to different contractors and potential subcontractors and getting prices and quotes for materials and services. It might be helping out the cost engineer with different costs, trying to get value for money, working out early terms and conditions, and developing the scope of work for services. It’s also relationship-building, letting contractors know about the project, project requirements, and any changes.”

Engineering didn’t start as a passion for Su-Yong.

“During the first year of study, you try all different types of engineering, and in the second year, you specialise. I specialise in civil engineering, but electrical engineering is also a major component of this project, so I get to see different specialisations in engineering,” he says.

He’s relished the chance to work on the site, where civil engineers are preparing the ground to ensure it can sustain all of the project’s 444 battery units once installed.

“It’s about seeing how the paperwork and textbook stuff comes to life. When you’re building things, you get to see the difference between what’s on paper and real life.”

Through its construction and operation, the hub will create up to 155 jobs, including 14 apprentice and trainee roles.

Su-Yong will remain in the role until the project’s completion in mid to late 2025, which coincides with completing his degree.

For Su-Yong, the experience of working on one of the country’s most significant renewable energy projects has opened his mind to the multitude of opportunities the sector offers. “I’m keen to stay with Samsung after I graduate,” he says. “They do all sorts of construction work in renewables and other areas. I’d be happy to stay working in the renewables sector. I feel lucky to be working on this project.”

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