The challenges of the energy transition

The energy transition is in full swing, and we’re excited to be part of projects that contribute to a greener world. We spoke with Thomas Wester, our Group Director Sales at STAR, about the challenges of the energy transition.

At STAR, one of the labels of The Specialist Group, there is a deep understanding of the market, giving them a keen insight into the needs of their customers and experts, both today and in the future. “All new projects are about sustainability,” emphasizes Thomas Wester, STAR’s Group Director Sales.

The Specialist group and its labels contribute significantly to achieving a sustainable future, with the majority of its projects focused on the energy transition. Thomas explains: “Basically, there are three main factors: sustainability, reduction of CO2 emissions, and the switch to new energy sources.”

He also emphasizes that the challenges of our time include addressing infrastructure bottlenecks in both the Netherlands and Belgium. Fortunately, intense investments by governments and companies are addressing this issue, and many promising projects are under development.


Attracting expertise

To make more people available for this important work, our organisation takes a three-pronged approach. Thomas shares, “First, we recruit people who already have the necessary expertise.” Thomas continues, “Second, we retrain and upskill people. We know the old world and the new world, so we can bridge the differences.”

Thomas emphasizes helping people with traditional skills adapt to new technologies. “Take specialists with a background in underground gas infrastructure, for example. They are perfect candidates to be trained to work on underground heat networks, and that’s what we do – we train them.” He adds, “And third, we train young talent and encourage people just coming out of school, college, or university to start their careers in the energy transition.”


Exciting projects for a sustainable future

Thomas shares some recent exciting projects that The Specialist group has contributed to, including collaborations with grid operators to make electric driving, solar power, and heat pumps more accessible. He says, “Another one: one of our customers recently built a wastewater treatment line that treats their plant’s wastewater before it is discharged. That is also sustainability. It was a great project, with several of our specialists enjoying being a part of it.” Thomas also cites involvement in the construction of a bio-kerosene plant and several hydrogen plants as examples.

He highlights the important work being done to reduce and store CO2 emissions, such as Gasunie and Shell’s Porthos project, in which millions of tons of CO2 are being safely stored. STAR is also involved in Gasunie’s national hydrogen network. “There are all kinds of exciting projects going on; the energy transition is in full swing,” says Thomas.


Leading the energy transition

Thomas points out that the energy transition is being driven by large, traditional companies charting a new course. He emphasizes, “Many people mistakenly think that the energy transition is being driven by innovative start-ups, but nothing could be further from the truth. The transition is taking shape because large, traditional companies are charting a new course, significantly accelerating the process. They drive the energy transition, and we are very happy to work closely with them to make it happen.”

He concludes by saying, “It is important for our society as a whole that more people are educated and trained to do all this work. We are committed to making a significant contribution to that. When you work with The Specialist group, you work at the heart of the energy transition.”

The Specialist Group is closely involved in almost every energy-related project and various sustainability initiatives, making the company attractive to dedicated professionals. “With 3000 specialists, we provide valuable support to project teams from concept to realization. Our concern extends beyond projects; we stand for the people,” says Thomas. “For me personally, I get a lot of satisfaction from contributing to a more sustainable world.”

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