Tripling of renewables in Queensland focuses Reid Switchboard Services on transformational opportunities in new infrastructure and technology

EV infrastructure, mobility, photovoltaics and associated switchboard demands will open up opportunities for decades ahead for Reid Switchboard Services, which is expanding its footprint in major demand and opportunity areas

A team leader with experience in some of Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects is positioning his company, Reid Switchboard Services, at the leading edge of a boom that will transform Queensland into a leader of the renewables and infrastructure electrical revolution now on the Sunshine State’s doorstep.

Danny Alam – who holds a Degree in Electrical Engineering (Manchester), Masters in Electrical Systems (UNSW), and Masters in Engineering Management (QUT) – took up his new role as Director of Reid Switchboard Services after working on projects including Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC), the NBN and Telstra Information Design Engineering.

“There is a wealth of infrastructure projects happening here in Queensland – not just the Olympics in 2032, but major projects throughout the State within in our company priority areas, including defence, airports, health and social infrastructure, including education. And all this is happening at a time when Queensland and the nation is transforming from a fossil-based generating system (now 71 per cent in Qld) to a renewables-based system, taking off from its current level of about 22-23 per cent renewables to more than triple that over the next 10 years,” he said.

A break from hectic local and international commitments during Covid gave Danny Alam time to focus on the best opportunities for the future

“This radical change is already happening. The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, released last year, builds on new commitments of 70% renewable energy by 2032, and 80% by 2035. So the change will be truly revolutionary in terms of grid and electrical infrastructure development faced by the electrical transformer industry and the entire construction and infrastructure industry,” says Danny, who has already led the Reid Switchboard Services team into major infrastructure projects including the new parallel runway at Brisbane Airport – which is estimated to create 7,800 new jobs by 2035 and $5 billion annual economic benefit – the $1.3 billion Toowoomba Hospital, as well as and building upgrades at RAAF Amberley, which is Australia’s largest air force base, employing more than 5,000 people.

“During Covid I finally got the time to get a clear view of my future when I went over to Bangladesh to see my Dad, who was ill at the time. The break from the intense work on major projects gave me time to focus on the future, with my Dad’s encouragement. So, when I came back to Brisbane, I saw a strong opportunity to obtain this business, Reid Switchboard Services, and to transform its existing core of strong skills into a leading future-focussed company that could share in the future of Queensland’s engineering and infrastructure projects.”

Initially Reid Switchboard Services’ focus will be on low voltage switchboard technology, such as that it has supplied to major projects including hospitals, defence and public airport facilities and schools. Ultimately it may lead on to medium and high voltage technology, as well as specialised technologies required to assist such vital facilities to cope with the different grid inputs and variables resulting from the national and local switch to photovoltaics, batteries, and other renewables with fluctuating supply.

The new Toowoomba Hospital, with an additional 118 beds for the region, is one of the major health infrastructure projects I which Reid Switchboard Services has been involved. Other hospital projects include Hervey Bay, Ipswich and Cairns. Other major social infrastructure projects include the MSB upgrade at the University of Queensland and the Southbank City Parklands FBD upgrades to the green spaces now visited by 14 million people a year

“Specialised technologies will need to be developed to ensure continuous electrical supply to vital facilities, including health and defence, which will need to be able to switch remotely and seamlessly from one power source to another, with assured supply.”

“This will be a great challenge, which our team will relish,” said Danny, who has already founded the 3n group of energy consultancy businesses dealing with such issues in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Bangladesh, which all face energy transition challenges. He is a Director of 3n Australia.

“One of the big challenges now on the doorstep of Australia is the move to electric vehicle uptake, as part of the transition to a renewables economy, which will lead to major change across the grid. This is an area of opportunity where we plan to reinforce and expand the reputation of Reid Switchboard Services, building from a foundation that has been solidly established in the industry,” says Danny.

The Reid Switchboard Services team, above, provides a strong core of skills to supply diverse markets, below

“One of the major aspects of reputational reinforcement and expansion in the decades ahead will be advancement of Standards to ensure customers receive the best, the most versatile and the most reliable technology, as the industry changes and we forge our path into the renewables sectors.”

Aviation and defence infrastructure – such as the infrastructure supporting RAAF Amberley’s F18 Super Hornets above – will be a priority of Reid Switchboard Services, which will also focus on social infrastructure, including health, education and other major Queensland infrastructure upgrades, such as the Brisbane Southbank City Parklands, below

“There is no room for second-best with future technologies. Reliability and quality are essential to everyone involved in the process of transformation. We will continue to work in partnership with our clients, consultants, and suppliers as a leading future-focussed manufacturer delivering quality to the Standards advocated by NESMA, which are the top Standards locally. This quality assurance will be especially important to customer confidence as we reach forward with affordable, quality design of verified switchboard solutions in compliance with AS/NZS 61439 and future needs.”