Renewable Energy Disruption in the Australian Electricity Industry

26 April 2017 at 16:00 EST (6:00 UTC/GMT)

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Electricity supply in Australia has long been dominated by coal and natural gas. Generators are aging and gas is becoming much more expensive due to a rapidly expanded gas export industry. Increasing renewable energy penetration is a natural choice for the country. Currently this stands at 15% of electricity supply with about 6% large hydro, 7.5% wind and solar (mainly rooftop PV) and 1.5% bioenergy. In South Australia (SA), however, the RE penetration is 44% on an annual basis (being mostly wind and rooftop solar) and is likely to reach 50% soon. This variable renewable generation is complemented by natural gas and an interconnector with neighbouring Victoria capable of supplying just 30% of peak demand. In the past year blackout and high price events in SA have wrongly been blamed solely on renewables by a hostile media and the conservative Federal Government. This has led to a very polarised and “blame laying” debate, particularly on the need to restrict the growth of renewable energy in Australia. 

What is required is collaboration – and as Australia’s Chief Scientist has said – an independent look at how to provide a reliable, secure, affordable and low emission electricity supply for Australia. To discuss the issues and situation are three very knowledgeable and respected speakers,

  • Hugh Saddler – Hon A/Prof, ANU Crawford School of Public Policy – “Transition from a National Electricity Market perspective”
  • Tristan Edis – Green Energy Markets - “Political aspects of the energy transformation “
  • Andrew Stock – Climate Council  - “Situation in South Australia”
  • Moderators – Ben Elliston, Senior Consultant at IT Power (Australia) and Monica Oliphant – Past President ISES and Adj A/Prof Uni SA



Hugh Saddler

Hugh Saddler is an independent consultant who has spent almost all of his professional life working on issues related to energy and environmental policy. This has been as an academic, government employee, and consultant. He is the author of a book on Australian energy policy and over 70 scientific papers, monographs, and articles. He is a regular media commentator on energy and climate change policy and the author of a monthly newsletter that tracks and reports on trends in Australian energy supply, consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Tristan Edis

Tristan Edis is the Director Analysis and Advisory at Green Energy Markets, where he assists clients understand and make informed decisions surrounding renewable energy, energy efficiency and other carbon abatement markets. 

Tristan’s involvement in the clean energy sector and related government climate change and energy policy and market issues dates back more than a decade. Tristan’s prior experience includes: time as the editor of Australia’s leading daily news and analysis publication on clean energy issues: Climate Spectator; Research Fellow at the Grattan Institute think tank; the Clean Energy Council; Ernst & Young; and the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Office.

Andrew Stock

Andrew Stock is a Councillor in the Climate Council and has over 40 years’ experience in senior management and executive roles in energy businesses, spanning traditional energy suppliers and emerging energy technologies and renewables – including being a foundation member of Origin Energy's executive leadership team from 2000 to 2012. He is, a Board Member of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and founding National President of the Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy (now Clean Energy Council) and has served on CSIRO's Energy & Transport Sector Advisory Committee as well as other research and energy advisory committees to the South Australian Government.

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