Energy policy in 2017 has been constantly in the media headlines, driven by the reality of the impact of high prices and security uncertainty and the ongoing, intense politicisation of energy and climate change policy. The ACCC has delivered major reports during the year, including its Preliminary Report on its Electricity Supply and Prices Inquiry. The Energy Security Board was appointed by the COAG Energy Council and has made a big impact through its recommendation to Minister Frydenberg for a National Energy Guarantee. We may be poised for a rare outbreak of bipartisanship and real progress on energy policy in 2018, or a depressing continuation of current trends that delivers the worst outcomes. The chair of the Energy Security Board, Kerry Schott, and the chair of the ACCC, Rod Sims, came together for our last Energy Futures forum for 2017 to reflect on 2017 and what we need in 2018.
Tony Wood has been Energy Program Director at Grattan since 2011 after 14 years working at Origin Energy in senior executive roles. From 2009 to 2014 he was also Program Director of Clean Energy Projects at the Clinton Foundation, advising governments in the Asia-Pacific region on effective deployment of large-scale, low-emission energy technologies. In 2008, he was seconded to provide an industry perspective to the first Garnaut climate change review.
Dr Kerry Schott AO is Chair of the Energy Security Board, Chair of Moorebank Intermodal Company, a Director of NBN, and a Director of TCorp NSW. She also Chairs the Assurance Board for Sydney Metro, and is a member of the Advisory Board for City and SouthEast Light Rail. Kerry was Managing Director and CEO of Sydney Water from 2006 to 2011. Before that Kerry spent 15 years as an investment banker, including as Managing Director of Deutsche Bank and Executive Vice President of Bankers Trust Australia. During this time she specialised in privatisation, restructuring, and infrastructure provision. Prior to becoming an investment banker Kerry was a public servant and an academic.
Rod Sims is the Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Rod has extensive business and public sector experience. Immediately prior to his appointment to the ACCC, he was the Chairman of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales, Commissioner on the National Competition Council, Chairman of InfraCo Asia, Director of Ingeus Limited, and member of the Research and Policy Council of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. Rod was also a Director of Port Jackson’s Partners Limited where he advised the CEOs and Boards of some of Australia’s top 50 companies on commercial corporate strategy over many years. Rod relinquished all of these roles on becoming Chairman of the ACCC.
Professor Michael Brear is the Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne. He guides the Institute’s research on the technical, economic, environmental and social impacts of energy systems. Much of his own research is collaborative with industry and government on: the technical, economic and environmental analysis of transport and energy systems; systems featuring reciprocating engines and gas turbines; and, combustion of conventional and alternative fuels. Michael is a Fellow of Engineers Australia and the Australian Institute of Energy and he previously established the University’s Master of Energy Systems. Prior to commencing at the University, he undertook graduate studies at Cambridge University and post-doctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.