The ARENA Advisory Panel provides advice to support the development and selection of projects and initiatives for funding by ARENA.
The panel’s roles include assessing program funding applications and providing expert specialist advice as required.
Dr Paul Ebert (Chair): Global Lead – Renewable Energy, Worley Parsons
Dr Ebert has managed a number of products from research to commercialisation, including solar, wind and bioenergy projects operating on commercial utility systems. He has provided input into a range of renewable energy and related projects in and outside Australia, including technical, management, planning, construction, operation and policy.
Dr Ebert has expertise in remote and regional renewable energy supply, responsible for development, design, commissioning and operation of six utility scale off-grid power systems in Australia. His renewable energy technology expertise is in the areas of solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind and enabling technologies such as storage, as well as the operation of these within energy markets and electricity networks.
Professor Andrew Blakers: Professor of Engineering at Australian National University
Andrew Blakers is Professor of Engineering at the Australian National University. His research interests include photovoltaic energy systems; silicon solar cell technology, solar concentrators, energy storage, integration and sustainable energy policy. He has extensive experience with basic and applied research, and led the teams that developed PERC and Sliver cell technologies.
Professor Blakers is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Science and Engineering, the Australian Institute of Physics and the Australian Institute of Energy, and is a Life Member of the International Solar Energy Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation. He is a Public Policy Fellow at ANU, and has published about 400 papers and patents.
Mr Tom Cawley: Managing Director, Balance Energy
Mr Cawley has technical energy experience from well or mine, through processing and transmission, to generation, with an extensive knowledge of energy use in the resources and industrial sectors.
He also has a strong exposure to renewables including the design and construction of a pilot biodiesel plant, detailed peer review of a solar flagship CST plant and multiple analyses of renewable options in the industrial and resources sectors.
Mr Cawley’s commercial experience includes the purchase and re-development of a gas turbine cogen plant, founding and leading a specialised energy efficiency engineering business for 13 years and recently, the successful founding and funding of a start-up with an efficiency focus. Mr Cawley’s capabilities in the emerging energy sector are underlined by his election to the well-contested board of the Energy Efficiency Council of Australia three times.
Mr Cawley also has significant firsthand experience of innovation within the energy sector, with several new technologies and solutions delivered by his company as well as the new start-up.
Mr Craig Chambers: Executive General Manager – Strategy, Portfolio & Innovation at Energy Queensland
Craig has responsibility for Energy Queensland’s Strategy, Portfolio and Innovation. In this role, he is accountable for business strategy, innovation, risk and compliance, regulation and pricing, as well as customer and stakeholder engagement across the portfolio.
Craig has over 20 years’ experience in the electricity and gas industry in Australia, Asia and the USA. Before joining Energy Queensland, Craig held a number of senior management roles in the energy sector. Most recently he was responsible for AECOM’s Power business line in Australia which included providing business strategy, group leadership and support to its key transmission & distribution, power generation, industrial and government energy sector clients.
This involved providing companies with advice on strategy, policy, regulatory compliance, due diligence, project development, technical design and construction delivery.
Mr Glenn Dahlenburg: integrating emerging technologies expert
Mr Dahlenburg has experience in the impacts of integrating emerging technologies, like renewable energy and energy storage systems, into the electrical network. This includes the integration of these technologies in a wide variety of network infrastructure types commonly found in Australia such as urban, rural, single wire earth return (SWER) and remote networks.
His experience extends into a range of technical, legal, regulatory, tariffs and cost benefits of these technologies with involvement in establishing distribution network policy on renewable energy.
Mr Dahlenburg has extensive experience in demand management through the management of utility demand management programs, establishment of demand management strategies and the integration of systems to support demand management programs. This includes the valuation of demand management and the benefits of renewable and storage technologies to support utility requirements for demand management.
Mr Lyndon Frearson: General Manager, CAT Projects
Mr Frearson has significant expertise in developing and commercialising renewable energy technologies. His experience includes prefeasibility through to construction management of renewable energy generation projects.
Notably he was involved in the first MW scale PV plant in Australia. He has previously worked to develop innovative approaches to automation and manufacturing during his seven years at Ford.
Mr Frearson has expertise in project finance assessment, off grid and edge of grid energy projects and markets with technical expertise in solar PV, solar thermal and enabling technologies.
Ms Katherine Howard: Partner, Corporate Finance – Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Ms Howard possesses over 15 years’ international corporate finance experience in Australia, the United States and Canada. In recent years she has advised on various project financings, acquisitions, mergers and divestments involving over $20 billion of debt financings and arranging over $5 billion of equity financing predominantly in the energy and infrastructure sector.
Ms Howard’s work has included developing renewable energy generation projects, particularly in project feasibility studies. She was recently a financial government adviser on the Solar Flagships Program; ACT Government solar and wind auctions; Treasury Loans for Refinancing Program, Vintage Units Program and the establishment of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Ms Howard possesses a broad knowledge of solar PV and wind energy.
Dr Cameron Huddlestone-Holmes: Senior Research Scientist, Energy Flagship, CSIRO
Dr Huddlestone-Holmes is a geologist in CSIRO’s Energy Flagship. He has 20 years of experience as a geologist in the resources and research sector including working within industry, academia and the CSIRO. He led CSIRO’s geothermal energy research program from 2009 to 2014, working with researchers and the geothermal industry to identify research priorities and establish research programs to support the development of geothermal energy technologies and methods.
Dr Huddlestone-Holmes’ current research focuses on geological characterisation of geological resources including gas, coal and geothermal and understanding the implications of these characteristics on resource extraction.
Ms Kellie Larsen: varied energy industry experience
Ms Larsen has over 18 years’ experience in the Energy industry across a wide variety of roles. She has strong fuels, petrochemicals and gas supply chain experience, with a deep commercial knowledge of the Australian and regional fuels industry. She has a comprehensive business skill set with strong commercial and business acumen developed through Strategy, Supply, Trading, Oil refining and Integrated Business Planning roles.
Ms Larsen has deep insights into the fuel supply chain economics and understands the challenges faced by the biofuels industry in Australia.
Mr Keith Lovegrove: Head of Solar Thermal – ITPower
Dr Lovegrove is the Head – Solar Thermal for the UK based renewable energy consulting company ITPower. He has 28 years of experience in Solar Thermal Energy combined with 15 years of teaching experience in Energy Systems and Systems Engineering.
He was previously the leader of the Solar Thermal Group at the Australian National University. In that role he was the lead inventor and team leader of the 500m2 Generation II Big Dish solar concentrator, recognized with a Light Weight Structures Association of Australia, 2009 design award.
Dr Lovegrove has authored or co-authored more than 160 publications including 2 patents and 7 books, chapters and major public reports. He was the primary editor of the 2012 book “Concentrating Solar Power Technology” by Woodhead publishing UK. In 2012, he was a Member of the Australian Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, Expert Working Group on Climate Energy and Water Links.
Professor Paul Meredith: Director UQ Solar – Global Change Institute
Professor Meredith is Professor of Materials Physics at the University of Queensland and is an ARC Discovery Outstanding Research Award Fellow. He also co-Directs the Centre for Organic Photonics and Electronics, and is Director of the UQ Solar initiative. His research involves the development of new sustainable high-tech materials for multiple applications including solar photovoltaics.
He is co-founder of several start-up companies including XeroCoat and Brisbane Materials Technology in the solar energy coatings space.
Professor Meredith is the recipient of numerous awards including the Premier of Queensland’s Sustainability Award (2013) and is widely recognised for his contributions to innovation and the promotion of renewable energy. He serves on several advisory bodies and boards including the Premier of Queensland’s Climate Change Council, the Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative Advisory Board and the UK Ser Solar International Advisory Board. He currently also serves on the Queensland Government’s Renewable Energy Target Public Enquiry Expert Panel.
Emeritus Professor Graham Morrison: Managing Director, Thermal Design
Emeritus Professor Morrison has more than 35 years’ experience with the design and commercialisation of solar thermal energy systems. Professor Morrison established the solar thermal energy department at the University of New South Wales and was Director of Solar Thermal Energy Research at UNSW until 2005.
After leaving UNSW he has been involved in the design and commercialisation of large scale solar thermal power systems.
He was involved with the design and construction of the first large scale high temperature solar thermal energy system connected to a conventional power station; at Liddell in the Hunter Valley NSW. He has been Australian representative on the International Standards Organisation and International Energy Agency solar thermal energy committees.
Professor Morrison has extensive design expertise in the area of industrial thermal energy systems as well as modelling and simulation of solar thermal energy processes. In addition, he has extensive commercial development experience in enabling high temperature solar thermal energy projects.
Mr John O’Brien: Market Leader – Power Advisory, GHD
Mr O’Brien is a Chartered Professional Engineer with extensive technical, regulatory and commercial experience across the Australian National Electricity Market and internationally. He is a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland with 40 years of experience in power stations, transmission and distribution systems and competitive energy markets. He is part of GHD’s Global Advisory Team.
Mr O’Brien was appointed to the Queensland Government’s Electricity Expert Panel in 2014. His extensive experience advising utilities, major mining companies, generators and energy intensive process operators allows him to provide strategic input into both corporate and operational decision making in energy related matters.
Dr Mike Sargent: MA Sargent & Associates Pty Ltd
Dr Sargent has expertise in developing and commercialising renewable energy technologies. He has advised on a number of solar energy projects including the Moree Solar Farm and Large Scale Solar for the ACT Government. Dr Sargent was a technical member for the Solar Flagships program.
He has over 40 years’ experience in various roles in electricity industry, planning, developing and implementing power station and network projects in the National Energy Market. Dr Sargent was also a former director of the Australian Energy Market Operator. His renewable energy technology expertise is in the areas of solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, geothermal and ocean technologies.
Professor Vladimir Strezov: Faculty of Science & Engineering, Macquarie University
Professor Strezov is a Professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University. He holds a PhD degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Newcastle.
He has 20 years of experience in research and development of advanced energy technologies, specialising in biomass research and industrial sustainability science.
He serves as a consultant for the Australian mining and energy resource industries in the fields of applied clean energy, biomass technology, biofuel production, waste to energy conversion and industrial ecology. Professor Strezov is a Fellow of Engineers Australia.
Mr Geoff Swier: Director, Farrier Swier Consulting
Mr Swier is an economist and company director. He has extensive energy sector experience in the areas of policy and regulation development, application of economic regulation, contract structures, risk allocation, project evaluation and dispute resolution.
His renewable energy sector experience and interests include wind, hydro, and network transformation resulting from emerging developments in distributed generation and battery storage. He has provided regulatory and policy advice in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and China
Currently he is a Director of Farrier Swier Consulting and a Director of Trustpower (NZ) Ltd. Previously he was a member of the Australian Energy Regulator. He had a number of senior roles in the design and implementation of Victoria’s electricity and gas industry reforms during the 1990’s.
Mr Blair Walter: Renewable Energy Leader – Aurecon
Mr Walter is a mechanical engineer with 20 years’ experience in the energy advisory sector incorporating a range of technical and commercial projects in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, South America, Africa and Europe. His primary focus is renewable energy and his experience includes site identification, development staging and strategy, resource and energy analysis, procurement, contracting, and finance due diligence for wind, solar and hydro projects.
Mr Walter is based in Aurecon’s Wellington office and is Renewable Energy Leader for Aurecon. Prior to joining Aurecon, he worked for PB Power in Wellington and Brisbane from 1995 to 2000, and for Mott MacDonald in Brighton and Glasgow from 2000 to 2005.
Dr Muriel Watt: Head of Energy Policy & Photovoltaics, ITPower
Dr Watt is the Head of Energy Policy and PV for renewable energy engineering company ITP Renewables, and part-time Senior Lecturer, School of PV and Renewable Energy Engineering, UNSW Australia.
For the last 10 years she has been Chair of the Australian PV Institute (APVI) and the Australian representative on the IEA PV Power Systems Program (PVPS). She is currently the PVPS Alternate representative and a member of the Solar Flagship Education Infrastructure Fund Strategic Advisory Board.
Past appointments include Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society, Director of the Policy Group for the Australian CRC for Renewable Energy and a member of the Australian Solar Institute Technical Advisory Committee.
Dr Watt has extensive experience in renewable energy technology, policy, education and deployment and has worked collaboratively with stakeholders from industry, government, academia and the community.
Dr Stephen White: Program Leader, Energy for Buildings stream – CSIRO
Dr White leads the “Energy for Buildings” Stream in CSIRO and is a Program Leader in the Low-Carbon-Living Cooperative Research Centre. He chairs the AIRAH Solar Cooling Special Technical Group, the ASBEC Sustainable Housing Task Group, and is a subtask leader in the International Energy Agency Task48 “Quality Assurance and Support Measures for Solar Cooling”.
He has played a lead role in a number of award winning solar cooling showcase installations, and in the world first AS5389 Technical Standard for Solar Heating and Cooling. He has significant technology commercialization experience, including lead roles in three start-up companies. He also oversees the NatHERS software tools that underpin current house energy efficiency regulation.
Dr John Wright AM: Principal, Wright Energy Consulting
Dr Wright has over 40 years’ research and industrial experience in the development, commercialisation and implementation of energy and minerals technologies. He was previously the Chief of CSIRO Energy Technology, and Director of the CSIRO Flagship program, Energy Transformed.
Dr Wright has served on a wide range of renewable energy boards and committees, including the Renewable Energy Development Program (REDP), the interim Board of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) the Victorian Government’s New Energy Jobs Fund Expert Panel and several International Energy Agency (IEA) committees and Implementing Agreements.
In 2016 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to science and engineering, particularly to renewable energy technology, and to professional organisations.
Professor Anthony Vassallo: Chair – Sustainable Energy Development, University of Sydney
Professor Vassallo holds the Delta Electricity Chair in Sustainable Energy Development at the University of Sydney in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies. He has a PhD in Chemistry from Macquarie University, and has over 90 fully peer-reviewed papers in international journals and 8 patents for energy storage devices.
He is a joint leader of the Clean Intelligent Energy Networks Research Cluster and leader of the Energy Storage Research Network at the University of Sydney. His area of research is energy storage and its use in future electricity networks. His expertise includes flow battery chemistry and materials, and systems analysis of grid-connected storage.