Luxton Memorial Lecture 2019

Avoiding the winner's curse: How to manage Australia's energy transition

Presented by Dr Alex Wonhas, Chief System Design and Engineering Officer with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Dr Alex Wonhas joined AEMO as Chief System Design & Engineering Officer in January 2019, and is responsible for delivering AEMO’s expanded focus on system design, development and engineering. Prior to this, Alex had over 15 years of experience in the energy sector, most recently from international engineering and advisory firm Aurecon where he was Managing Director Energy, Resources and Manufacturing and especially focused on growing energy and resources advisory services to supplement Aurecon’s traditional engineering business. Before Aurecon, Alex was the Executive Director responsible for CSIRO’s Environment, Energy and Resources research and development.

The Memorial Luxton Lecture is presented by the Centre for Energy Technology and the School of Mechanical Engineering in honour of Professor Russell Escourt 'Sam' Luxton, FTS, FIEAust, FAIE, FRSAMC, FRSA.

When: Thursday 21 November 2019, 5:30 - 7:00pm
Where: Braggs Lecture Theatre, Braggs Building, University of Adelaide, North Terrace

Energy systems around the world are transforming. The share of large-scale and distributed renewable, asynchronous generators grows at an unprecedented rate. South Australia is leading the world in many dimensions of this transition. However, leadership can come at a price. Leaders are often the first to encounter (and then hopefully overcome) obstacles along the way.

This lecture will explore how the laws of physics and economics can help (South) Australia avoid the ‘winner’s curse’ by addressing:

• Why the energy transition is unavoidable and, if implemented well, can lead to affordable, reliable and lower emissions energy

• How to minimise customer prices during the transition

• How to maintain security and reliability — from milliseconds right through to decades

• Why we can’t avoid making difficult decisions and how we can make long-term choices, even if the future is uncertain.