The Energy State of the Nation 2016
 
Speakers
 
Jeff Benjamin
Senior Vice-President
Westinghouse Electric Company, USA

Jeff Benjamin brings more than 25 years of management experience in the nuclear industry to his position as senior vice president, New Plants and Major Projects. In this position, he leads Westinghouse efforts to develop and deliver new plant and other major projects on a global basis.

Mr. Benjamin’s career in the global commercial nuclear market includes project and plant operations experience, and he has extensive knowledge of boiling water and pressurized water reactors.

Prior to joining Westinghouse in May 2013, Mr. Benjamin served as president of Nuclear Services at Rolls-Royce Nuclear. He was promoted to the position from his previous role as executive vice president of Engineering.

From 2007 to 2011, he served as senior vice president of Global Commercial Nuclear for CH2M HILL. While in this role, he was program manager for the United Arab Emirates’ new civil nuclear program, assisted Poland in establishing its nuclear energy program and was an original member of the Nuclear Development Forum in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Benjamin played a key role in the formation of Exelon Corporation, where he served as vice president of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs from 2000 to 2007. In this role, he also helped to implement performance improvements across the largest nuclear fleet in the United States.

From 1998 to 2000, he served as site vice president at LaSalle County Generating Station while with Commonwealth Edison.

Mr. Benjamin earned a bachelor’s degree and completed coursework for a master’s degree (thesis pending) in nuclear engineering from Oregon State University. He also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2001.
 
Rita Bowser
Vice-President
Westinghouse Electric Company, USA

As vice president, New Plant Project Advancement, Rita C. Bowser leads new projects to expand the application of Westinghouse’s AP1000® and Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor plant technologies to even broader markets. She is a 2015 recipient of the Toshiba Power Systems Company Award, and the 2014 recipient of the Society of Women Engineers Global Leadership Award.

Previously, Ms. Bowser supported the Americas Region and responded to nuclear utility needs in a post-Fukushima environment. She brought her experiences from the Three Mile Island recovery and Chernobyl accidents, as well as more than 25 years of nuclear experience to this role.

Ms. Bowser served for more than a decade in international Westinghouse postings, including regional vice president, South Africa, and managing director of a Westinghouse new build consortium in the United Kingdom (UK).
 
Tania Constable
Chief Executive Officer
CO2CRC

Tania Constable commenced as CEO in January 2015. Ms Constable was previously chief advisor in the Personal and Retirement Income Division of Treasury, working on tax-related matters.

Prior to her work at Treasury, she held various senior resources and energy roles in the Department of Industry. Ms Constable was the Head of Resources for more than four years. She had responsibility for policy advice to the Minister for Industry on oil and gas regulation, exploration and development, and mining activities. During this time Ms Constable also had the privilege of being the Australian Joint Commissioner and Sunrise Commissioner for Australia and Timor Leste leading joint activities on the development of the Joint Petroleum Development Area and Greater Sunrise Project. She was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2014 for outstanding public service in the development of Australia’s Liquefied Natural Gas and other resource and energy industries.
 
Professor Lyndon Edwards
Head of the Institute of Materials Engineering
ANSTO

Lyndon Edwards is the Head of the Institute of Materials Engineering at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). He holds a Personal Chair in Structural Integrity at the Open University, UK and is an Adjunct Professor of Materials Engineering at Monash University in Australia. 

Prof Edwards has a long-standing international reputation in structural integrity particularly of aerospace and nuclear materials. He has over 200 publications on and has worked on the Structural Integrity of advanced aircraft structures and Nuclear Power generation plant. He is also internationally recognized as one of the leading proponents of engineering stress measurement using neutron diffraction. Prof Edwards studied for both his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Oxford University.
 
Greg Garvin
Executive General Manager
TransGrid

Greg Garvin is Executive General Manager of People, Strategy & Stakeholders at TransGrid, the NSW electricity transmission network service provider.

Greg has a strong background in supporting the development of the Australian renewable energy market, and is passionate about aligning network business decisions with consumer priorities.

Before joining TransGrid, Greg held leadership positions at Sustainable Solutions, ClimateWorks Australia, and McKinsey & Company, where he advised governments, companies and organisations on questions of strategy and sustainability.
 
Alex Gosman
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Industry Greenhouse Network

A long term Canberra resident, Alex brings extensive policy development and advocacy over 30 years including leadership of several industry association, and executive positions with Ericsson Australia and GlaxoSmithKline.

In prior roles, he was responsible for industry policy development in Federal Government agencies. Currently CEO of the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network. 
 
Professor Chris Greig
Director
UQ Energy Initiative

Chris Greig leads the UQ Energy Initiative. This transdisciplinary initiative encompasses both traditional fossil energy and renewable energy systems and links engineering, material sciences and mining research, to social policy, economics, and environment.
Chris also leads the UQ Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation. The mission of the Dow Centre is to foster, identify and facilitate innovations in economically and environmentally sustainable processes associated with the production and use of energy, water, food and chemicals.

Chris is a Chemical Engineer having obtained his degree and PhD at the University of Queensland and is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. Prior to joining UQ, he held executive roles in construction, mining and clean energy industries in Australia and abroad over a career spanning 25 years. He is Deputy Chairman of Gladstone Ports Corporation and a Non-Executive Director of Seymour Whyte Limited. 

His main interests lie in Energy Transitions, Economics and Policy, Energy for Development, Mega-Project Implementation and CCS. 
 
Shigeki Hirano
Chairman
Osaka Gas Australia Pty Ltd

Mr Shigeki Hirano is Chairman of Osaka Gas Australia Pty Ltd, an Osaka Gas’ subsidiary company based in Perth, Australia, effective of April 1, 2012.  Mr Hirano has been Executive Counsellor for Osaka Gas since June 29, 2012.

Joining Osaka Gas in 1977, Mr Hirano experienced his early career as a research engineer at Research Centre and a planning staff at Gas Production Department.  In 1992 he was transferred to Corporate Planning Department, where he assumed his middle management position primarily engaged in the company’s long-term vision and strategies for investment in the company’s gas supply infrastructure and for entry into new businesses in liberalised energy markets.

In 2000 Mr Hirano went back to technology related organizations, where he assumed his general management positions: Head of Technology Planning Office (2000-2003), Head of Technology Strategy Department (2003-2004), Head of Energy Technology Laboratories (2004-2008) and Head of Advanced Materials Business Promotion Department (2007-2008).  In the meantime, he was appointed Associate Director in 2003, and Director in 2005.

In 2008, Mr Hirano was appointed Managing Director, CTO and Head of Technology Division.  In the following year, he assumed his position as Senior Executive Officer, Head of LNG Receiving Terminals and Power Generation Business Unit, being in charge of Senboku and Himeji LNG Terminals as well as the company’s power plants across Japan with a total capacity of 1,700MW including Senboku Power that commenced its operation in that particular year.  He was Member of the Board for periods of 2005-2006 and 2008-2012.

 
Andy Lloyd
Chair
Energy Policy Institute of Australia

Andy Lloyd is principal of Lloyd Mine Consulting Pty Ltd and has over 30 years’ experience in the resources industry. He retired from Rio Tinto in July 2013, having held a number of commercial positions with the Rio Tinto group in Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the UK within the copper, aluminium and energy businesses.

Andy is a currently a member of the Federal Government’s Emission Reduction Assurance Committee which oversees the methodologies for the creation of carbon credits required for the operation of the Emission Reduction Fund.

Until 2012 he was a member of the Federal Governments' advisory group for the Energy White Paper. He played a leading role in the early development of Rio Tinto’s response to climate change, and the development of low emission coal technologies. Andy was a founding director of Global Coal Ltd, a successful on-line coal exchange developed in 2001 by the coal industry. He has served on the Boards of the World Coal Institute and Australian Coal Association.

Andy is currently a Director of Developing East Arnhem Ltd, which has recently been created by the Northern Territory Government and Rio Tinto Alcan to promote economic development of the East Arnhem region in the light of the curtailment of the alumina refinery in Gove. Andy’s past directorships include ASX listed Coal and Allied Industries (CNA), and Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), and in Namibia, of Rössing Uranium Ltd. Andy holds degrees in Business Administration and Natural Resource Management, and is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
 
Prof Ron Loveland
Energy Advisor to the Welsh Government

Prof Ron Loveland is a very experienced member of the senior civil service having worked extensively at the industry/government interface on technology, innovation, enterprise and energy matters over the last 35 years.  Following holding the post of Director: Sustainable Energy and Industry in the previous Welsh Assembly Government, he was appointed four years ago as the energy advisor to the current Welsh Government with a mix of path-finding, advisory and ambassadorial roles associated with helping to deliver the ambitious Ministerial energy-investment objectives for Wales on a joined-up government basis.

Prior to holding these positions, Ron was the chief technology officer responsible for advising the Welsh Assembly Government on energy, steel, telecommunications and more general sustainable business-development policies.  

Ron now also has a 5 year appointment (2014-19) as an honorary professor at the College of Engineering, Swansea University. He is a Fellow of the UK’s Institute of  Physics (and an ex-chartered member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers) who participates in the work of many UK and Wales energy and innovation committees.  

Ron is also privileged to have an international dimension to his work, visiting China, Japan, USA, Australia, Middle-east and Europe: and is currently also a visiting scientist at the major world-class CSIRO solar-energy R&D centre in Newcastle NSW.

 
Meg McDonald
Former COO, Clean Energy Finance Corporation
Former Australian Ambassador for the Environment

Meg McDonald has significant career experience in senior roles across the public and private sector, in Australia and internationally.

From 2013-15 she was Chief Operating Officer of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) helping establish the Corporation successfully as it committed $1.4bn in finance with the private sector in over $3.4bn in clean energy projects and energy efficiency financing programs.

Prior to the CEFC, from 2010-2013, Meg was CEO of Low Carbon Australia Limited (LCAL), a $100m l investment fund set up by the Australian Government, with an independent private sector Board. LCAL successfully invested commercially, co-financing with the private sector, contracting investment of over $85m, attracting private sector co-investment in clean energy and energy productivity projects in buildings, industry and local government valued at over $240m.

From 2002-2010, Meg held senior positions with Alcoa, a global resources and metals manufacturing corporation. This included as General Manager, Corporate Affairs for Alcoa Australia from 2002-2006, and from 2006-2010 as Alcoa’s Director, Global Issues and as President (CEO) of Alcoa Foundation, based in New York.

Before joining Alcoa, she was a senior Australian career diplomat, including as Australia’s Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States in Washington DC and as Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment, as well as earlier serving as Adviser to three Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministers. In 1997-98, Ms McDonald was Australia’s lead negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol and played a key role in shaping those negotiations and other environment treaties.

Meg holds an Honours Degree in Applied Science from the University of NSW.
 
Robert Pritchard
Executive Director
Energy Policy Institute of Australia

Robert Pritchard is Executive Director of the Energy Policy Institute of Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Energy

The Institute is an independent, apolitical energy policy body whose membership comprises major energy companies, industry associations and universities.

Robert is also Managing Director of ResourcesLaw International Associates in Sydney, an energy consultancy. He has 40 years’ experience as an adviser on a wide spectrum of energy and infrastructure projects covering all energy forms.

Robert has carried out major studies for the APEC Energy Working Group on energy security, cross-border power and cross-border natural gas trade.

Robert was the first Chairman of the Section on Energy Law of the International Bar Association and served for 9 years on the Finance Committee of the World Energy Council.
 
David Pryke
Executive General Manager
Siemens

David Pryke is the Executive General Manager at Siemens in Australia, responsible for the divisions of Power and Gas, Power Generation Services, and Wind Power and Renewables. He oversees a portfolio of innovative products and solutions across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region.

David has over 30 years experience in the energy industry. His introduction to the field of power generation came in 1981, when he was involved in the construction of large coal-fired power plants in New South Wales, as well as the major half-life refits of existing power plants. In 1990, David was responsible for constructing and managing Australia’s largest maintenance facility for steam turbine generator plant. Shortly thereafter he was responsible for the acquisition of large hydro generator maintenance facilities in Hobart as part of a government privatisation process.

David joined Siemens in 1999, as the head of Power Generation. The business quickly became a leader in the service segment of the market. A leading position as a supplier of new equipment and turnkey solutions was also subsequently established within the segments of wind power, fossil power generation, and oil & gas. Continual expansion of Siemens through acquisition and organic growth has resulted in an ever-expanding range of high-quality offerings to the local market.

David has a Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters Degree in Project Management.

 
Margaret Sewell
Head of Energy Division
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Margaret has been the Head of the Energy Division since March 2015. Prior to that she led the Taskforce which produced the Australian Government’s Energy White Paper.

Before moving to the Taskforce in November 2013 she was the Head of the Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Division in the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, administering policy and programs to accelerate the development and deployment of emerging energy technologies. This included low emissions coal and carbon capture and storage, emissions abatement from coal mines and industrial scale energy efficiency and working closely with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency in developing policy in the renewable sector. The Division also coordinated the Department’s involvement in a range of bilateral and multilateral trade and technology forums in the resources and energy sectors.

Prior to the establishment of ARENA, Margaret was the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, in the Department and was responsible for the Government’s Solar Flagships and CCS Flagships program.
 
Caroline Stott
Chair, Future Energy Leaders Group
EPIA

Caroline’s role focuses on integrating The University of Queensland’s strengths and diversity in energy research across all faculties and institutes within the University. This includes facilitating engagement between the University’s researchers and leaders in industry and government through business development to raise profile, management and coordination of projects, funding proposals and targeted outreach to foster and promote collaborations.

Prior to this Caroline was the Education Manager for the International Energy Centre (IEC). She was responsible for the design and development of a scalable business model for the operation of the IEC, and development and delivery of its Master of Energy Studies (MES) offering. Her role incorporated both the management and coordination of programs as well as development of the centre through strategic planning, identification of market requirements and opportunities, management of stakeholder relationships and industry engagement. More recently, when IEC’s initial 5 year funding term came to an end in 2015, Caroline was seconded to IEC as General Manager (Operations) to plan, lead and manage the MES program as it transitioned to the University to enter the next phase of growth.

Caroline also has international experience in the establishment and operation of strategic R&D joint ventures with global industry partners. Prior to joining the IEC Caroline was based in Germany at the Brandenburg University of Technology. With a focus on low emission technologies - in particular Carbon Capture and Storage - as well as renewable energy generation infrastructure, her experience includes multi-party funding proposals, project development and preparation of tenders for the delivery of energy generation initiatives within Germany and the EU as well as Africa and South America.

Caroline holds degrees in Science, Economics and German from The University of Queensland, and is currently completing a Masters in Project Management. She is the 2016 chair of EPIA’s Future Energy Leaders group.
 
Kane Thornton
Chief Executive
Clean Energy Council

Kane Thornton is Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, the peak body for the renewable energy industry in Australia.

Kane has more than a decade's experience in energy policy and leadership in the development of the renewable energy industry. Kane has advocated for and helped design the policies that have been critical to the renewable energy industry's growth, and continues to be an active political advocate, public presenter and media spokesperson.
His previous roles include senior manager and advisor for Hydro Tasmania and executive officer of Renewable Energy Generators Australia.

Kane has broad international management experience having previously worked in technology, living and working in Asia. He has held a range of advisory and board roles with government and non-government organisations in the climate change and energy sector, and is a non-executive director of Sustainability Victoria.

Kane is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, has a Masters in Social Science and Bachelor of Information Technology.
 
Rodger Whitby
Chief Executive Officer
The St Baker Energy Innovation Fund

Rodger Whitby is the Chief Executive Officer of the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund.

The Fund has a diversified portfolio of investments in clean-tech, energy related start-up companies; predominantly in Australia, but also in the USA. The start-ups in the portfolio are supported by the cornerstone shareholding in ERM Power.

Rodger is an experienced senior executive with 30 years of experience in the energy sector with a focus on the commercial and wholesale trading aspects of energy, both as a commodity and as a product to end users. He has held General Manager and Managing Director roles for several decades. His responsibilities have included overall business and financial performance, business development, project development, trading, risk management, and establishment of new businesses and business units.

He has previously held senior positions at various energy related companies in Australia and in South East Asia. These include:

• General Manager of the solar project division at MPower – an Australian energy project developer and wholesaler of energy related products
• Co-Founder and GM Business Development at Ingenero – an Australian solar company that was a leader in the commercial solar space
• An independent consultant to some of Australia’s major energy companies
• Independent Chair of the Trading Risk Committee at a second tier electricity retail company
• GM of Wholesale Energy Trading at Energex when Qld first entered the National Electricity Market
• Various senior management and commodities trading roles at BHP Billiton in Australia and in Singapore for the Petroleum and Minerals divisions
 
Helen Wilson
First Assistant Secretary
Department of the Environment

Helen Wilson is the First Assistant Secretary of the Emissions Reduction Fund Division of the Department of the Environment.

Helen’s experience spans both the private and public sectors. She has worked as an economist in the financial sector and run a small business with her husband.

She has spent 10 years working in the Australian Public Service, including in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and has worked on climate change, infrastructure and monetary and fiscal policy.
 
Alex Wonhas
Executive Director, Environment, Energy & Resources
CSIRO

Alex is a member of the Executive Team of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. As Executive Director - Environment, Energy and Resources, Alex has responsibility for 4 business units with 1,500 fulltime research staff. His team is in the top 10 of research organisations globally in geoscience and environmental sciences. He directs an annual research investment of over $400 million. The team’s work covers research from exploration, mining, oil & gas production, right through to processing and supplies chain logistics. His team is also a global leader in understanding land, water, coastal and ocean ecosystems as well as new energy technologies.

As part of his leadership, Alex has also

• Overseen the successful spin-out of a number of technology based companies, eg most recently BuildingIQ, which was listed in Dec 2015 on the ASX
• Chaired the energy theme at the 2014 G20 in Brisbane
• Advised several Australian governments on energy policy
• Been responsible for CSIRO’s overseas operations in Chile
• Sponsored the development of the Australian National Outlook 2015 (published in Nature in Nov 2015), the first fully integrated economy, energy, food and water projections for Australia in a global context

Prior to joining CSIRO, Alex worked 7 years for McKinsey & Company mainly on operational and strategic topics in the resource sector.

Alex holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge, UK and a BSc/MSc equivalent from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. 
 
Tony Wood
Program Director
Grattan Institute

Tony Wood has led the Grattan Institute’s Energy Program since mid-2011. Since then he and his team have delivered seven 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.

He has built widespread relationships within the energy sector and is an adviser to government.