Electricity: How it can be Inexpensive, Reliable and Clean

Electricity: How it can be Inexpensive, Reliable and Clean

Can the current national model of electricity supply based on competitive markets adequately transition Queensland to a new but as yet unknown future? Many elements of Queensland’s energy regime have changed since the Electricity Act 1994 was promulgated, to put it mildly. Advancing technology, the east coast National Electricity Market, emissions profiles, ownership, prices, grid reliability and intergovernmental relations are all under critical public and policy review.

Transitioning to a distributed future

On 8 September 2017 the Society hosted a Lunchtime Forum featuring keynote speaker Alan Pears AM, presenting on trends in electricity supply and distribution, sponsored by the Office of the Chief Scientist of Queensland.

Alan Pears, Senior Industry Fellow at RMIT University, has been educated in engineering and teaching. He has been a highly regarded consultant on climate policy, energy efficiency, energy markets and practical design of green buildings, appliances and systems since 1991. He has been a member of the Victorian Government’s Expert Reference Panel for development of its Energy Efficiency and Productivity Strategy. He is a prominent media commentator, having written more than 30 articles for The Conversation opinion website.

The forum was followed by a deliberative workshop to examine the emerging future in this field, co-hosted with the TJ Ryan Foundation, Queensland’s home-grown think tank, with the support of the Department of Energy and Water Supply.

Three experts gave short presentations:

Prof Ian Lowe – the limits to growth in throughput of energy and materials through the economy.

Michael Gutteridge – world views that shape the debate.

Brendan Markey-Towler – the micro-economic model at the heart of the National Electricity Market and the strengths and limitations of competition as an organising principle.

This workshop then examined evidence from science, technology and economics with the aim of producing a set of principles that could guide the Queensland Government in transitioning to an as-yet unknown future in both generation and distribution, via a hypothetical new Electricity Act.

Alan Pears’ slide presentation is available to all those who registered for the event and to members of the Society.

Pumped hydro storage

See Home page for a brief description of twin events to be held on Friday 20 October.