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  • Writer's pictureDavid Pointing

Inspiring insights from our 10 Executives on key challenges and opportunities in power

As anticipation builds for the upcoming API Summer School, we are thrilled to offer a deeper glimpse into the transformative discussions sparked by our recent online Executive Insights series.

Led by API CEO Dr. David Pointing, this series features captivating interviews with ten distinguished executives hailing from various spheres of the power sector.

Through their insights and challenge questions, our speakers have laid the groundwork for collaborative exploration and innovation on the key challenges and opportunities in the Australian power sector for the 150+ participants in the Exec Insights series; AND they have set the stage for our Summer School participants to delve into the intricacies of these pressing industry challenges as part of the famous "Syndicate Projects" group activities at the 2-week residential School.

Meet Our Speakers and Explore Their Challenge Questions:

  1. Seán Mc Goldrick, CEO, TasNetworks: delved into the critical issue of community engagement for renewable projects, posing the question of how to garner support for the expansion of renewables and the necessary network infrastructure.

  2. Cameron Parrotte, EGM Engineering & Project Delivery, Horizon Power: shed light on the challenge of managing fault levels in networks with an increasing influx of renewables, sparking discussions on reliable and cost-effective solutions for network protection.

  3. Jason Froud, EGM, People, Strategy and Social Value (Acting), Synergy: Jason's inquiry focused on customer support for new technologies and associated costs in the context of system transformation, prompting considerations on incentivizing stakeholders and managing transitions.

  4. Donald Vaughan, Technical Director Power, Entura: Donald highlighted the importance of collaboration to achieve renewable development goals while navigating global constraints and environmental considerations, inspiring discussions on innovative collaboration models.

  5. Jacqui Bridge, EGM Energy Futures, Powerlink Queensland: Jacqui explored the need for accelerated project development amidst a rapidly transforming energy landscape, inviting reflections on managing speed, uncertainty, and mental health within teams.

  6. Erin van Maanen, EGM Strategy, Hydro Tasmania: Erin delved into the realm of decision-making in an uncertain market, encouraging exploration of alternative models to navigate complexity and uncertainty effectively.

  7. Nicola Falcon, Group Manager – Victorian Planning & Connections, Australian Energy Market Operator: Nicola emphasized the importance of coordinated infrastructure rollout to optimize system solutions, prompting discussions on community impact mitigation and effective planning strategies.

  8. Dr. Bill Lilley, Chief Research Officer, RACE for 2030 CRC: Bill underscored the need for holistic, systems-oriented approaches to address complex industry challenges, igniting conversations on the integration of emerging technologies and collaborative research efforts.

  9. Andrew Kingsmill, Executive Director, Technical Advisory Services, EnergyCo NSW: Andrew highlighted the imperative of scaling up energy storage deployment in alignment with industry forecasts, sparking discussions on overcoming technical, logistical, and financial hurdles.

  10. Sam Barbaro, CEO, Western Power: Sam drew attention to the pivotal role of customer-owned renewable generation options, sparking discussions on supporting the proliferation of distributed energy resources to accelerate the energy transition.

Read the detailed Challenge Questions here (PDF download).

API Executive insights 2024 Challenge Questions 7Feb2024
Download PDF • 985KB

Exploring Solutions at the Summer School:

The ~50 participants in the API’s 2-week residential Summer School will work in project groups during the School to jointly author a response to the Challenge question and associated brief.

By the end of the School the groups will deliver a Board Report and a live presentation (that you can watch via free webinar - register here).

These deliverables will review:


1.       A 1-page Executive Summary of the Challenge and the group's response (see the summaries for 2022 projects here)

2.       What are the major factors contributing to the Challenge?

3.       What are the major issues and stakeholders impacted by the Challenge?

4.       What is the current state of play?

5.       What are their recommendations for action (and for which stakeholders – focusing on what other people like yourselves should/could do to contribute to action)?

6.       What workforce and skills gap issues can the group identify and any suggestions for remediating actions by individuals (e.g., grads, students, PhDs) and organisations/employers and/or universities?

7.       Recommendations for individual professional develop actions by individuals (e.g., grads, students, PhDs) so they can contribute to the issue in the future

8.       Contributors’ biographies (enabling Exec Insights participants to connect with each other).

Accessing Resources and Engaging Further:

For those registered in the online Executive Insights series, recordings of the interviews are available through the API's Online Academy. Furthermore, the reports and presentations from the Summer School will be accessible to all, fostering knowledge-sharing and collaboration within the industry.

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