The future of energy markets came under the spotlight at a major forum hosted by UNSW’s Australian Energy Research Institute (AERI).

The forum, organised in collaboration with the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), brought together leading figures from industry and consumer groups, as well as academic experts. It focused on two strategic priority issues: retail markets and consumer participation, and interactions between gas and electricity markets. 

Speakers included AEMC Chairman John Pierce and Commissioner Dr Brian Spalding, CEO of energy markets at Origin Energy Frank Calabria, Tru Energy’s executive general manager of corporate strategy and development Mark Collette, Anna Brakey from IPART and David Stanford of CUAC. Professor Graham Davies, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Engineering, welcomed guests.  

Opening the forum, AERI Director Professor Vassilios Agelidis said energy was not just an issue for the market, industry and consumers.

“It is also a strategic issue with geopolitical implications for governments,” Professor Agedlidis said.  “We are already witnessing important changes affecting energy options such as the price of gas, the price of solar technologies and Japan’s nuclear disaster.”

AERI, which was formally established in 2011, is a sustainable energy think tank headquartered in the new Tyree Energy Technologies Building at UNSW.  It is taking a holistic approach to solving energy-related problems by bringing together leading engineers, economists and policy experts, with the goal of translating research outcomes into real-world applications.

Professor Agelidis said AERI’s goal was to find solutions to the big energy questions. These include:

  • Can security of supply come from renewables today?
  • Are the costs of renewable technologies an inhibiting factor for increased grid integration?
  • How will energy storage influence network operations?
  • What are the forms of energy losing out in the current economic battle towards lower carbon solutions?
  • How can innovation assist necessary consumer behavioural change?
  • How can we detach our economy from its dependency on fossil fuels without jeopardizing the security of supply?

Media contact: Frank Walker, UNSW Media, 0417 090 346