Public lecture looks at future of the energy market

October 8, 2013

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The 2013 Keith Roby Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, October 22 will explore how the residential energy market requires a paradigm shift in order to integrate the new reality of distributed energy.

The free talk will be given by Dr Muriel Watt, Chair of the Australian Photovoltaics Association, Head of Energy Policy & Photovoltaics for the renewable energy consulting company IT Power Australia and part-time senior lecturer at the University of NSW.

Dr Watt said the current business model used by utilities is becoming obsolete and requires fundamental change.

“Residential electricity use in Australia has been declining each year since 2008, driven by factors such as solar panels, energy efficiency and price sensitivity,” Dr Watt said.

“These trends are likely to continue, putting increased pressure on the income streams and business models of established utilities. My talk will look at how the electricity industry needs to transition to a new reality.

“When disruptive technologies such as photovoltaics and energy efficiency are introduced into a well-established industry, they don’t simply integrate seamlessly, but require and create change.”

Dr Watt said that the current top-down structure of energy distribution is coming into conflict with a bottom-up structure in which residential homes are both energy consumers and suppliers.

“We have to look at residents having the ability to source and sell their electricity from entities other than their retailer – which is going to have a major impact on how utilities operate and plan for the future,” she said.

Dr Watt studied for her PhD under Keith Roby and Peter Newman at Murdoch University and has worked in government agencies, private companies and universities on energy related matters since 1980.

The Keith Roby Memorial Lecture runs from 6 to 7.30pm in the Kim E Beazley Lecture Theatre at Murdoch’s South Street campus.

To attend, please RSVP by October 16 to rsvp@murdoch.edu.au

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