The Australian Power Quality and Reliability Centre (APQRC) in conjunction with Engineers Australia hosted an Electricity Industry Forum at the SMART Infrastructure Facility on Friday 3 May 2019. The forum provided an opportunity for experts and stakeholders from across Australia to discuss issues facing the electricity system in the face of unprecedented change driven by the rapid increase in renewable energy. Participants included representatives from distribution and transmission utilities, power engineering industry experts and consultants, major electricity users, and academia.
After the welcome by APQRC Technical Director Professor Sarath Perera, Professor Valerie Linton, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences (EIS) addressed the forum with some opening remarks. Mr Ty Christopher, General Manager Asset Management at Endeavour Energy, gave the key note address. In his address Mr Christopher highlighted the need for strong links between industry and academia for both the training of well-equipped power system engineers with practical skills to meet the challenges facing the industry, and for practical industry focussed research addressing these challenges. He further acknowledged the exemplary long-standing relationship of the APQRC with the electricity industry for over 23 years.
A panel session chaired by former EIS Faculty Executive Dean Professor Chris Cook opened the discussion highlighting current issues facing the industry. A key challenge facing the industry is technical stability of the electricity grid with rapid changes taking place including increasing renewable (typically intermittent) generation and decreasing traditional generation. Feasibility of large-scale uptake of electric vehicles and the impact on the grid was also discussed. Discussions not only focussed on technical aspects, but societal aspects were also discussed.
About 20 APQRC post-graduate students presented posters allowing industry representatives to gain an understanding of the research being undertaken at the Centre and how it may be relevant for the challenges they are facing. Forum participants were also provided an opportunity to tour the world-class power engineering laboratory facilities.