Conference 2 of Digital Utilities 2021

Digital energy: towards smarter energy networks

Towards smarter energy networks will look at how technology can solve some of the challenges associated with managing two-way flows of power.


Conference Program

Charlotte Pordage, Editor, Utility magazine

Welcome remarks

Greg Hannan - Head of Network Strategy and Non-Network Solutions, CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy

Mark Vincent – General Manager Strategy and Transformation, SA Power Networks

The flexible grid – a demand-side transformation

The rise of distributed, intermittent renewables is driving a demand-side revolution as system operators and distribution networks seek to manage the dramatic influx of rooftop solar PV. South Australia has a world-leading penetration of distributed solar PV for a gigawatt-scale system and is facing many of these challenges ahead of other jurisdictions.

In this presentation, SA Power Networks will describe how flexible demand-side connections, for both distribution generation and loads – enabled by advanced network models and smart customer-side equipment – offer the promise of a reliable, abundant, low-cost and zero-carbon energy future.

PANEL - Harnessing the collective potential of consumer-owned energy assets

Our panellists will discuss the challenges and opportunities that small-scale devices, such as rooftop solar, batteries and electric vehicles, and their aggregation in the form of virtual power plants and microgrids present for the way electricity is produced, managed and consumed.

Renae Sambrooks – Manager Customer Solutions, Horizon Power

Dr Peter Wong – Network Technology and Measurement Manager, Jemena

James Colbert – Chair, International Microgrid Association

Tracy Deveugle-Frink – Head of Change and Innovation, Western Power

Future-proofing Western Australia's energy landscape

Western Power is an industry leader in creating a more flexible, modular grid to meet the changing needs of its customers, including the uptake of solar and storage options. From trialling stand-alone power systems to community batteries and microgrids, its innovative use of new technologies is leading the way electricity networks around the world maximise their grids and help combat climate change.

Flexibility Services is the utility’s latest pilot designed to show how commercial and industrial customers can realise the value of their distributed energy resources while supporting the network. Learn more about this trial, and how Western Power is at the industry’s forefront in planning the network of the future to deliver more secure, reliable, green and affordable energy for decades to come.

Meet The Speakers

Renae Sambrooks – Manager Customer Solutions, Horizon Power

Renae is the Manager Customer Solutions for Horizon Power, co-creating with customers on their renewable energy solutions across regional and remote West Australia.

Her previous role as General Manager Energy and Commercial at Vicinity Centres saw the embedding of innovation culture with a global-first transparent solar glass commercial installation, Australian-retail-first bifacial panels with reflective surface coating test zones, Australia's largest retail battery and solar shade structure installation.

Renae is a commercially-focused leader with an outstanding record in developing programs that lead to positive outcomes. Highlights include:

  • Concept development of ‘Schools Virtual Power Plant’ as part of the WA Government Recovery Plan
  • Delivery of Australia’s largest $73 million retail investment for distributed energy
  • 2019 Property Council Australia Innovation and Excellence Awards – People's Choice winner
  • 2019 Clean Energy Council Marketing and Communications Award winner
  • 2019 Clean Energy Council Innovation Award finalist
  • Melbourne’s green roof initiative ‘Growing Up’ that won a Melbourne Design Award for Architecture

Mark Vincent – General Manager Strategy and Transformation, SA Power Networks

Mark has over 35 years’ experience in the energy industry and has been engaged in many areas within the electrical sector, including regulation, operations management, asset management and business transformation.

Mark is currently charged with developing SA Power Networks’ strategy to deal with the opportunities arising from customers’ continued take-up of distributed energy resources, and the increasing challenges and risks posed by South Australia’s aging network infrastructure.

The strategy is seeking to support the state’s transition to a decentralised, decarbonised energy system, while continuing to deliver a safe, reliable and affordable distribution service.

Mark holds a Bachelor's Degree in Electronic Engineering and several post-graduate qualifications. He is also a Director of, and chairs, the Corporate Governance Committee of the Electricity Industry Superannuation Scheme (SA) and sits on the Energy Industry Roundtable, providing advice to the Federal Government on energy policy.

Tracy Deveugle-Frink – Head of Change and Innovation, Western Power

With over eight years’ experience in consulting to disrupted industries, Tracy’s diverse experience and passion for innovation and strategy drives her to constantly challenge the status quo, to build the world we all deserve.

Tracy’s experience offers a fresh approach to change, innovation and strategy implementation at Western Power. She is combining her strong innovation background with a history in creative industries to deliver the future.

Tracy has worked with Western Australian businesses to launch their innovation hubs and new, agile ways of working. She has also been involved in major transformational projects and brings this passion into her roles as Chair of TEDxPerth and Friends of Perth Festival.

Tracy has now set her sights on transforming the energy industry in WA – one idea at a time.

Dr Peter Wong – Network Technology and Measurement Manager, Jemena

Dr Peter Wong is currently the Network Technology and Measurement Manager at Jemena, a multi-utility operating in electricity, gas and water areas, and is responsible for new technology and smart meter strategies and applications.

Dr Wong has a distinguished career as a professional engineer. He received the Energy Networks Association Overseas Study Tour Award in 2011, was awarded the John Madsen medal for the best paper published in the Australian Journal of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 2015, and received the Lifetime Achievement in Energy Award from the Electrical Energy Society of Australia in 2017.

Dr Wong received his BSc (Eng) degree from the University of Hong Kong, and a PhD degree from Victoria University, Australia, both majoring in electrical engineering. Dr Wong is a Chartered Professional Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

James Colbert – Chair, International Microgrid Association

James is the current Chair of the International Microgrid Association and leads the utilities team in Australia for global energy management specialist Schneider Electric. Over the last decade he’s been involved in the digitisation of the energy sector and driving business development and growth within the rapidly changing energy landscape.

James previously led the strategy and market development for energy technology business Edge Electrons. He was the GM of Strategy for EnergyAustralia where his role encompassed overall strategy as well as new technologies and businesses, including the Smart Grid Smart City project, embedded networks, smart metering, electric vehicles and storage. He also worked for Origin on international markets and partnerships for new models engaging customers and data.