Industry Roundtable Forum

Australia is committing to Net Zero by 2050 as are many advanced economies of the World. Some of the states are setting themselves even more ambitious goals. Net Zero do not mean all our electrical energy will have to come from zero emission sources but as a major source of carbon emission electrical power generators will have to source a very large proportion of our electrical energy will need to come from renewable energy options. This could potentially revolutionise the power industry, empower customers of their choice and will open a whole new area of business opportunity and advanced manufacturing. Net Zero requires much more than the decarbonisation of electrical energy in the grid. Net zero is technically feasible but present a challenging solution from network point of view. The lack of rotating mass and their inertia in large scale renewables in maintaining the frequency stability of the grid is just one of them. Presently, it seems a difficult to sell problem to some politicians and sections of the population but once the challenges of introducing the paradigm shift is overcome the World will be a happier place for generations to come and to enjoy affordable and cleaner energy. In this roundtable we will hear from experts from the academia, industry, researchers and consultants.

Panel Moderator

Professor Syed Islam, FIEEE, Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Federation University and Advisory Director of Centre for New Energy Transition Research.

Syed M Islam received the B.Sc. MSc and PhD degrees all in Electrical Engineering in 1979, 1983, and 1988 respectively. He is currently the Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and previously the Executive Dean for the Institute of Innovation Science and Sustainability at Federation University Australia. He is also the founding Director of the Centre for New Energy Transition Research at Federation University. Prior to joining Federation University, he was the John Curtin Distinguished Professor in Electrical Power Engineering and the Director of Centre for Smart Grid and Sustainable Power Systems at Curtin University, Perth, Australia. He received the Dean’s medallion for research at Curtin University in 1999. He received the IEEE T Burke Haye’s Faculty Recognition award in 2000. He received the Curtin University inaugural award for Research Development in 2012. He received the Sir John Madsen medal in 2011 and 2014 for best electrical engineering paper in Australia. He has published over 270 technical papers in his area of expertise. His research interests are in Condition Monitoring of Transformers, Wind Energy Conversion, and Smart Power Systems. He has been a keynote speaker and invited speaker at many international workshops and conferences. He has been a Visiting Professor at Shanghai University of Electrical Power and Xian Jiatong University, China. He is a Fellow of the Engineers Australia, a Fellow of the IEEE and IEEE PES and member of the IEEE IAS, and DEIS, a Fellow of the IET and a chartered professional Engineer in Australia. He is a founding Editor of the IEEE Transaction on Sustainable Energy and an Associate Editor of the IET Renewable Power Generation. He was the Guest Editor in Chief for the IEEE Transaction on Sustainable Energy special issue on Variable Power Generation Integration into Grid. He is a member of the C4NET Board.

Panel Presenters

Dr Jessica Bian, IEEE PES President, USA

Jessica Bian is the 2020-21 PES President-Elect. She is a visionary leader and architect who has spearheaded the electric industry’s reliability metrics and grid-risk assessment. She is currently with Grid-X Partners. Before that, she was with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. Previously, she was the director of performance analysis at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Under her leadership, a total of 18 industry-wide reliability indicators were established for the first time to determine grid reliability, adequacy, and associated risks. She is widely recognized as a pioneer and trusted world leader in the field. Before joining NERC, Jessica was with PJM, ERCOT, and Westinghouse Electric. She received her B.Sc. degree from the Taiyuan University of Technology, China, her M.Sc. degree from the Electric Power Research Institute, Beijing, China, and her Ph.D. degree from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. She has had more than 70 articles published, and she received the 2014 PES Wanda Reder Pioneer in Power Award for her technical achievements. She is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Mr James Seymour, CEO, Centre for New Energy Technologies (C4NET)

James is the CEO of the Centre for New Energy Technologies, “C4NET”. C4NET is a company established to tackle sector-wide complex transition challenges with an innovative collaboration approach between industry, market operators, regulators, governments and leading researchers. Prior to joining C4NET, James led the creation and development of Ovida, the contestable electrical service business of one of Australia’s largest energy infrastructure companies, Jemena. Ovida established a national solar and energy storage business and launched innovative microgrid business models. James was previously Head of Solar and Home Products at Origin where he launched Australia’s largest solar PPA business, and Director of Corporate Development for a JV between Origin and global semiconductor leader, Micron, for the commercialisation of a unique solar PV cell and module manufacturing technology.

Professor Iven Mareels, Director IBM A/NZ Centre for Applied Research

Iven Mareels (Fellow, IEEE) received the ME (ir) degree in electromechanical engineering from the University of Gent, Belgium, in 1982 and the PhD in systems engineering from the Australian National University, Australia, in 1987. He is currently the Director of the IBM Research Australia, Southbank, VIC, Australia, and an Honorary Professor of electrical and electronic engineering, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. He is a Leading Expert in the area of large-scale systems, adaptive control, and extremum seeking. He has authored/co-authored extensively in the areas of large-scale and adaptive systems. He holds 32 international patents mainly related to large-scale autonomous irrigation systems management. Prof. Mareels is a Fellow of IFAC (Austria), and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (Australia) (and a member of the board of this academy), and a (Foreign) Fellow of the Flemish Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Belgium). He is a Commander in Order of the Crown of Belgium and was recipient of the Centenary Medal of Australia both for contributions to engineering.

Dr Amir Mehrtash, Power Systems Consultants (PSC), Australia

Amir is a Principal Power Systems Engineer with over 17 years of experience in the analysis, planning, research, and design of power systems. His experience in industrial projects as well as research works has ranged from power system modelling and analysis to transmission line and substation design. He received his PhD in Power Systems Engineering from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2012. He is now a team leader in Power Systems Consultants (PSC) Australia where he leads a team of over 12 talented power systems engineers.

Kate Summers, Principal Consultant, Power Systems

Kate is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers, and an experienced power systems and control engineer with extensive electrical experience, market and regulatory knowledge. She is passionate about renewable energy and dedicated to bringing about an orderly transition to a low carbon future. Her broad engineering knowledge has been gained over more than 25 years of engineering practice covering a wide range of practical field experience, power system analysis, transmission planning, operational control, regulatory compliance and project connection negotiation. In 2020 Kate was jointly awarded National Professional Electrical Engineer of the Year for her work identifying the root cause of the deterioration in system frequency. Kate’s recent focus has been on control philosophy, shedding light on the unintended consequences of market based decisions in respect of control theory, the loss of power system engineering practices and the escalating complexity of regulation imposed on engineering. Current modelling practises are overly complex, devoid of clear purpose and extend beyond sound use of the mathematical methods. Computer models are a tool to aid engineering interpretation of the power system. Kate is an advocate for stepping back from detailed power system modelling to understand complex problems from fundamental principles aligned with power system control philosophy.

Mr Luke Robinson,  Group Manager Modelling and Engineering

Luke Robinson is a chartered electrical engineer and MBA graduate with over 15 years’ experience. He has previously worked with SKM (now Jacobs), DIgSILENT Pacific, Western Power and at AEMO since early 2017. His experience encompasses transmission planning, power system analysis, system operations, and generator connection assessments including site commissioning. At AEMO Luke is Group Manager for Modelling & Engineering. His groups is responsible for supporting and improving power system modelling, reviewing major power system events, reviewing operational requirements to manage high-impact low-probably events, facilitating commissioning of new/upgraded interconnections between NEM regions, as well as uplift of operational tools to help enable the energy transformation. Luke is also involved in supporting AEMO emergency coordination functions as a NEM Responsible Officer and is AEMO’s designate on the Global Power System Transformation Consortium (G-PST), collaborating with leading System Operators globally to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.

Dean Sharafi, Group Manager – System Design and Transformation, AEMO

Dean Sharafi is heading up the System Design and Transformation Group of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). Dean holds a degree in Applied Physics, a degree in Electrical Engineering and a degree in Business Management. He has around 30 years of experience in power system engineering which includes Power System Protection, High Voltage Systems, Asset Management and Power System and Electricity Market Operation. He is a member of Australian Institute of Management, Cigre, Engineers Australia and a senior member the IEEE. Dean has been actively involved with IEEE Power and Energy Society initiatives and Cigre Working Groups over the last decade and is a member of the Governing Board of the IEEE PES. Dean has published many papers on power system protection, condition monitoring, asset management and power system operations. He lectured for a decade as a Sessional Academic on Power System Earthing at Curtin University in Western Australia. Dean is also the author of his memoire “The Unwilling Revolutionary.”