My favourite quote about engineering is from Herbert Clark Hoover, US President from 1929 to 1932.
Hoover said: There is the fascination of watching a figment of imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realisation in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings jobs and homes to men and women.
As an electrical engineer with Western Power, the principal generator, transmitter and distributor of electricity in Western Australia, I help ensure that our 725,000 business and domestic customers get the constant and reliable supply of electricity they need in industry and their daily lives.
I have worked in several different areas of Western Power as part of my training, including the team that looks at ways of protecting the electricity generation and distribution system against blackouts and faults. I have also been 55 metres up on a cherry picker - something that wasnít covered in my Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce degrees.
By producing and distributing electricity as efficiently and cleanly as possible, we work to minimise any environmental damage resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels.
Less than one per cent of WA's electricity comes from alternative technologies such as solar energy and wind power, but this is gradually changing. Electricity authorities throughout the world are investigating options for using environmentally-friendly and sustainable technologies. Western Power has specific targets for reducing the amount of greenhouse gases it produces, and is also planting trees to help the environment.
There won't be big changes overnight, but experts predict that by 2010, renewable sources will provide 10 per cent of the worldís energy requirements.
I am currently studying alternative sources of energy in my Graduate Diploma in Science course at Murdoch University.
Copyright 1997 Nancy Mills, PO Box 18166, Collins St East, Melbourne, VIC 8003
Page last updated 31 May 2000