Speakers

Hon Ben Wyatt MLA

Treasurer; Minister For Finance; Energy; Aboriginal Affairs

Ben Wyatt is Australia’s first Indigenous Australian treasurer and was appointed in March 2017.

Testament to his capability, capacity and strong work ethic, Mr Wyatt also holds the position as Minister for Finance, Energy and Aboriginal Affairs.

Mr Wyatt’s priority as a leader of the state is to focus on his pronounced Ministerial portfolio, his obligation to his constituents and to make a difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the state and the nation. Mr Wyatt is deeply committed to the principles of closing the gap in Australia.

Elected to the Legislative Assembly in a by-election, held in March 2006, Mr Wyatt was fast-tracked to fill the vacancy created when the Hon Dr Geoff Gallop resigned and has been serving the State for more than 10 years.

Prior to his appointment as a senior Minister in the current Government, Mr Wyatt held the positions of Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Federal State Relations, Aboriginal Affairs, Native Title and Government Accountability.

Mr Wyatt holds a Masters Degree with distinction from the London School of Economics,  Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Australia and has also served on the National Board of Indigenous Business Australia as an officer in the Australian Army –  following his graduation from the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

In 2001, Mr Wyatt was awarded Young Australian of the Year in the Town of Victoria Park. Other accolades include a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship from the Rotary Club of Victoria Park for 2001 to 2002 and receiving the Australian Defence Medal in 2008.

Mr Wyatt’s career in earnest began in Western Australia as a barrister and solicitor where he served as counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

 

Colin BeckettColin Beckett

Board Chair
Western Power

Western Power’s vast transmission and distribution network connects Western Australians to a wide range of both traditional and renewable energy sources to power a vibrant modern lifestyle. Western Power builds, maintains and operates the network in the south west corner of Western Australia.

As a Director and Board Chair since April 2015, Colin Beckett has been providing steady guidance and support across the leadership and governance of the State Government owned corporation. Prior to joining Western Power, Mr Beckett was a senior executive at Chevron Australia Pty Ltd, responsible for the development of the Gorgon LNG and domestic gas project on Barrow Island, Western Australia. Mr Beckett was previously employed at Mobil in Australia and at BP in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Mr Beckett is a past Chair and director of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), past Chair of the CSIRO Energy and Transportation Sector Advisory Board, a past member of the WA Technology and Industry Advisory Council and a past member of the UWA Oceans Institute.

Mr Beckett has a Master of Arts in Engineering from Cambridge University.  He is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK), a fellow of the Australian Institute of Engineers and a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

 

Matt CheneyMatt Cheney

Head of Grid Transformation
Western Power

Matt Cheney leads the Grid Transformation function at Western Power, with responsibility for the future network strategy and for the development and prioritising of network plans to maintain service and performance standards.

Western Power is a Western Australian Government owned corporation that transmits and distributes electricity to more than one million customers across 254,920 km2. The network incorporates more than 102,000 kms of wires, along with more than 860,000 poles and towers.

Matt’s team is accountable for pilot projects including stand-alone power systems, microgrids and a utility scale battery energy storage solution. The objective being to provide the WA community with solutions to deliver power in new, efficient and innovative ways to meet their changing needs.

With 20 years’ experience in a diverse range of roles and industries Matt has established himself as a versatile asset manager and business leader. He previously formed part of the leadership team that implemented improved asset management practices across the business, focusing on maintaining the integrity of in-service assets.

Matt also held primary accountability for the strategic asset management of conductors across the network, in addition to the implementation of Smart Grid technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace Avionics), and is a member of the Asset Management Council of Australia.

 

Dr Graciela Chichilnisky

Professors Economics and Statistics
Director CCRM, Columbia University

Graciela Chichilnisky is a world renowned economist and mathematician, the creator of the Carbon Market of the UN Kyoto Protocol, the concept of Basic Needs and the formal theory of Sustainable Development. She was the Lead US Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which received the Nobel Prize in 2007, Her pioneering work uses innovative market mechanisms to create Green Capitalism. 

Chichilnisky is a professor of Statistics and Economics  at Columbia University and currently a visiting professor at Stanford University. .She acts as a special adviser to the UN the IMF and the World Bank, is a TED speaker and speaks frequently in CNN ABC and BBC. Chichilnisky is the Co-Founder and CEO  of Global Thermostat, an award winning company in which she co-invented a "Carbon-Negative Technology”™ that captures CO2 from air at low cost transforming it into profitable assets such as biofuels, beverages and polymers and building carbon negative power plants, a company that FORBES and KPMG say can reverse climate change.

 

Andrew DicksonAndrew Dickson

Business Development Manager
CWP Renewables

Andrew Dickson is Business Development Manager at CWP Renewables, a global developer of renewable energy projects. Two notable CWP projects include the 600 MW Fântânele-Cogealac Wind Farm in Romania (the largest onshore wind farm in Europe) and the 270 MW Sapphire Wind Farm in northern NSW (the largest wind farm in NSW, currently being hybridised with 200 MW of solar PV and a 100MWh / 50MW battery).

Andrew has over 15 years of experience developing renewable energy projects including wind farms, solar thermal power stations and microgrids. He has also led CWP’s initiative to open up the Sapphire Wind Farm to large scale, local community investment. In three and half years outside of the renewable energy sector, Andrew was an economic development manager with the South Australian Department of State Development.

For the Asian Renewable Energy Hub project, he is working closely with the Australian National University to contribute research into areas including indigenous engagement and capability mapping, legal frameworks for intercontinental energy agreements and the potential for large scale pumped hydro energy storage. He is also exploring the potential for the project to produce green hydrogen, for local and export markets.

Outside of work, Andrew directs a team which is developing an off-road, off-grid, solar powered electric vehicle to transport pregnant women from remote villages in Sub Saharan Africa to hospitals, to reduce maternal mortality.

 

Prof Ross Garnaut
Prof Ross Garnaut

Professorial Research Fellow in Economics
University of Melbourne

Professor Garnaut is a Professorial Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of numerous publications in scholarly journals on international economics, public finance and economic development, particularly in relation to East Asia and the Southwest Pacific. Recent books include The Great Crash of 2008 (with David Llewellyn-Smith, 2009) and Dog Days: Australia After the Boom (2013).

Professor Garnaut has had longstanding and successful roles as policy advisor, diplomat and businessman. He was the senior economic policy official in Papua New Guinea’s Department of Finance in the years straddling Independence in 1975, principal economic adviser to Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke 1983-1985, and Australian Ambassador to China 1985-1988.

He is the author of a number of influential reports to the Australian Government, including Australia and the Northeast Asian Ascendancy, The Garnaut Climate Change Review, and The Garnaut Review 2011: Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change.

Professor Garnaut has chaired the boards of major Australian and International companies since 1988, including Lihir Gold Ltd (1995 – 2010); Bank of Western Australia Ltd (1988 – 1995); Primary Industry Bank of Australia Ltd (1989 – 1994); Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Limited Pty Ltd (2002 – 2012) and its subsidiary OK Tedi Mining Ltd; Lonely Planet Pty Ltd; and aluminium Smelters of Victoria Ltd and the Energy Transition Hub. In 2015 he became the Chairman of ZEN Energy Technologies Pty Ltd. In September 2017, ZEN Energy formed a strategic partnership with global company GFG Alliance and SIMEC ZEN energy was founded. Professor Garnaut remains as President of SIMEC ZEN Energy.


Richard HarrisRichard Harris

Chairperson
WA Independent Power Association

Richard has more than 30 years’ experience in the public and private sectors in the energy industry in WA.
Richard has been a Director of West Australian-based renewable energy development company WestGen since February 2010. WestGen is developer of the 30MW Byford Solar Farm, which will be begin commercial operations in the first half of 2018.

Richard’s previous roles include General Manager Commercial for Aviva Corporation, developer of the Coolimba Power Project, Project Director for the development of NewGen’s Neerabup Power Station, and WA Director for NewGen Power and ERM Power.

Prior to taking up his private sector roles, Richard had a long career in Government, serving both Coalition and Labor Governments as a Director in the Office of Energy, with responsibilities for the early stages of deregulation of the gas and electricity markets.

Richard is also Special Counsel at the communications firm Cannings Purple.

Richard holds a BA (Honours) and an MA degree from the University of Western Australia.

 

Luke O’Callaghan

Energy Lawyer

Luke is a commercial lawyer specialising in electricity and downstream gas matters for clients in the energy sector.  

He has acted for clients across renewable energy project development, wholesale and retail energy contracting and regulation, carbon and climate change, consumer and competition law, and third party access matters.

Luke holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian Catholic University. 

 

Cameron ParrotteCameron Parrotte

Executive General Manager
Western Australia, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

In January 2016, Cameron was seconded to the AEMO focusing on the transfer of System Management out of Western Power to the AEMO. From April 2016 he began acting in the AEMO Executive General Manager Western Australia role and was formally appointed in July 2016. In this role Cameron provides leadership to the WA market operations, implementation of Electricity Market Review initiatives and accountability for system management.

Cameron joined Western Power (then the State Energy Commission of Western Australia) in 1992 as a cadet engineer and left in July 2016 as the Executive Manager Network Planning and Operations role. Cameron held numerous senior management and senior engineering positions covering technical, field and system operational aspects of electricity networks and markets.

Cameron has a Bachelor of Engineering (First Class Honours), a Bachelor of Commerce (Management major) and a Masters of Technology. He is a Chartered Professional Engineer, on the National Professional Engineers Register and is a member of the Institute of Engineers Australia."  

 

Donna Pidduck

Chief Marketing Officer
Origin

Donna Pidduck joined Origin in March 2017 as Chief Marketing Officer within the retail business responsible for Origin’s residential and SME customers.
Donna brings a new perspective to the energy space, having grown up in financial services. For the last 20 years her marketing roles have focussed on commercial growth, customer and leading engaged marketing teams. As the ‘newbie’ at Origin, Donna believes that asking ‘why’ or ‘why not’ is absolutely critical to drive change.

So why energy and why now? Donna is passionate about energy sector’s transformation to true customer centricity.  It’s a great time to join a sector where disruption is real, and where winners and losers will be borne from their ability to build trust with customers, anticipate and deliver on new energy experiences which are meaningful, empowering and super simple.
Prior to joining Origin, Donna spent 18 years with GE Capital in both Australia and Europe (Zurich), in a range of senior marketing positions across brand development, credit card segment marketing, personal lending and commercial lending.

Following the sale of GE Capital’s consumer business in Australia to a private equity consortium, Donna led the brand re-positioning and launch of challenger brand Latitude Financial Services.  The ‘You can do better’ consumer campaign featuring Alec Baldwin was a strong commercial success and took out an MFA bronze award.

Donna holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She lives in Melbourne, is married with one daughter and a very scrappy dog.

 

Paul Rasmussen

Renewables and Energy Storage Specialist and Associate
Arup

Paul Rasmussen is a Renewables and Energy Storage Specialist and an Associate in Arup. Paul focuses on developing integrated and efficient technology solutions to achieve greater returns for owners and operators of facilities in the mining, agriculture, energy and water sectors. He is currently pioneering novel concepts for mining companies in terms of energy use and storage.

 

Ben Skinner

General Manager, Policy & Research
Australian Energy Council

Ben Skinner was appointed as General Manager, Policy & Research of the Australian Energy Council in October 2017. His role primarily focusses on environmental policy and wholesale market policy in order to promote efficient, secure and competitive outcomes in the Australian energy sector.

Prior to this he was Specialist, Market Development at the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) for nine years, primarily liaising with government on environmental policy matters, including secondments to the Garnaut and Climate Change Authority secretariats.

Historically, Ben has worked as head of spot trading and then wholesale regulatory management for TRUEnergy (now Energy Australia).

Ben holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Diploma of Applied Finance.

 

Dr Elizabeth Thurbon

Associate Professor of International Political Economy
University of New South Wales

Dr Elizabeth Thurbon is an Associate Professor of International Political Economy at the School of Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney. She has also held visiting fellowships at Seoul National University and China Foreign Affairs University. Her research specialism is the political-economy of techno-industrial development and change, with a particular focus on the developmental role of the state in Australia and East Asia, especially South Korea. Thurbon’s most significant scholarly contributions examine the emergence and evolution of East Asia’s developmental states, as well as the impact of globalisation on states and their capacities to promote techno-industrial adjustment and upgrading. In addition to her scholarly work, Thurbon is a regular contributor to public debates on Australian trade and industry policy. She holds a Ph.D. in International Political Economy from the University of Sydney, Australia. She also completed her Economics (Social Sciences) Degree at Sydney University, where she was awarded first class Honours and the University Medal for Academic Excellence.

 

Frank Tudor

CEO
Horizon Power

CEO - Frank Tudor has held various executive management roles over the last 25 years in the oil, gas and power industries. Before becoming CEO at Horizon Power, Frank worked at BP and Woodside, where he was responsible for managing business development activities. Frank has also been a lecturer in oil and gas economics and legal frameworks at the University of Western Australia.

 

Tony WoodTony Wood AM

Energy Program Director
Grattan Institut
e

Tony Wood has led the Grattan Institute’s Energy Program since mid-2011. Since then he and his team have delivered sixteen major reports on energy and climate change and he has developed a strong profile with governments and industry, and is a regular contributor in major media on key energy issues.  From 2009 until mid-2014, he also had a role as Program Director of Clean Energy Projects at the Clinton Foundation, advising governments in the Asia-Pacific region on effective deployment of large-scale, low-emission energy technologies such as solar and CCS.

Prior to these roles, he spent 14 years working at Origin Energy in senior executive roles covering retail and LPG line management and corporate affairs. In 2008, he was seconded to provide an industry perspective to the first Garnaut review.

In January, 2018 Tony was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his significant service to conservation and the environment, particularly in the areas of energy policy, climate change and sustainability.