11
Apr
2018

Energy Futures Seminar: What does a truly sustainable electricity network look like? – Melbourne

Electricity network costs continue to be an area of significant focus for consumers, government, regulators and media, as well as network businesses themselves. In some cases, claims have been made that network prices are paying for investments the value of which has since been questioned. Responding to that challenge in a regulated environment is harder than in competitive markets, where options such as asset write-downs are more commonplace.

At the same time, these businesses have to prepare for a radically different future where existing, or even new assets, could rapidly become under-utilised or redundant entirely. Experts from Grattan Institute, Powerlink and the Melbourne Energy Institute debated and explored these challenges in this first of our Energy Future Series for 2018. This event was opened by John Bradley, Secretary of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Moderator

Maxine McKew is an author and Hon Fellow of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Her most recent book, Class Act is a study of the key challenges in Australian schooling. Maxine’s background traverses both journalism and politics. For many years she was a familiar face to ABC TV viewers and was anchor of prestigious programmes such as the 7.30 Report and Lateline. Her work has been recognized by her peers with both Walkely and Logie awards. When she left journalism and made the switch to politics, she wrote herself into the Australian history books by defeating Prime Minister John Howard in the Sydney seat of Bennelong. In government she was both parliamentary secretary for early childhood and later, for regional development and local government. Maxine lives in Melbourne and is a director of Per Capita and the John Cain Foundation and in 2015 was appointed to serve on the board of State Library Victoria.

Speakers

Merryn York, Chief Executive, Powerlink Queensland has more than 25 years’ experience in the Queensland electricity industry, 16 of which have been spent in senior leadership positions. An Electrical Engineer by profession, Merryn has worked in all facets of transmission network management including asset management, regulatory affairs, capital investment and governance, customer management and business development, and network planning and performance. Chief Executive of Powerlink since 2011, Merryn is leading the business in its transformation to better align with the external environment and customer and shareholder expectations. Merryn is a Board Member of Energy Networks Australia (ENA), and Chairs its Regulatory and Policy Committee.

Andrew Stock brings over 40 years experience in senior management and executive roles in energy businesses, spanning traditional energy suppliers and emerging energy technologies and renewables. He is a present and past Director of numerous energy companies, a Board Member of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and Chair of resources and energy Institute Advisory Boards and the University of Adelaide and University of Melbourne. He was the founding National President of the Australia Business Council for Sustainable Energy (now Clean Energy Council) and has served on CSIRO’s Energy and Transport Sector Advisory Committee as well as other research and energy advisory committees to the South Australian Government. Andrew is also currently a Councillor with The Climate Council.

Rob Amphlett Lewis, Executive General Manager, Strategy and Regulation, Ausgrid, has more than 15 years’ experience in energy markets and utilities infrastructure in Australia and the United Kingdom. Before joining Ausgrid he held a number of senior roles at AusNet Services including regulatory, commercial management, planning, business development and strategic accountabilities and was most recently Executive General Manager – Strategy & Performance. Rob’s experience within the energy industry includes a career in professional services, specialising as a Mergers & Acquisitions advisor within the energy, infrastructure and resources sectors. Before moving to Australia, Rob was an energy trader with TXU European Energy Trading based in the UK.

David Blowers has extensive experience developing both energy and broader public policy in both Australia and the UK. He has spent the past three years as the Energy Fellow for the Grattan Institute providing analysis and commentary on Australia’s electricity and gas markets, as well as on climate change policy. Prior to working for Grattan, he spent three years working on energy and earth resources policy for the Victorian State Government.