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www.energydigital.com • August 2016

Flying high Gevo is leading the way with low-carbon jet fuel

How it’s leveraging the power of partnerships From refrigeration to automation: Ingersoll Rand’s sustainable future

BREXIT Five ways it could change the UK energy sector


EDITORS COMMENT

New innovations aren’t always the sole source of energy savings IN THIS MONTH’S Energy Digital, we wanted to highlight the role that adaptations play in increasing efficiency and promoting sustainability. We featured US-based Ingersoll Rand, a diversified manufacturer which has branched out into the realm of ‘smart’ technologies to help people understand energy consumption within their built environments. Many of the company’s products act as amendments to existing structures to improve energy efficiency. Where sustainability is concerned, there is perhaps no question more pressing than ‘what are we going to do about planes?’ As I write, the Solar Impulse aircraft has just completed its aroundthe-world flight, but commercial solar planes still seem a long way off. Gevo, a manufacturer of biofuels, has created a ‘drop-in’ replacement for jet fuel which boasts a much-reduced carbon footprint. We spoke with the company’s CEO to understand what the market for renewable jet fuel looks like — and how we might best decarbonise air travel. Elsewhere, we examine how the UK’s exit from the European Union might impact its energy sector. At this point, as the cliché goes, the only certainty is uncertainty. However, flexibility and solutions-based thinking go a long way in energy, whether you’re building a home automation system or drafting new legislature. As always, let us know what you think @EnergyDigital

Jennifer Johnson Editor Jennifer Johnson@bizclikmedia.com 3


CONTENTS

F E AT U R E S

PROFILE

6

Ingersoll Rand’s vision for a sustainable future

TECHNOLOGY

12

Gevo is leading the way with low-carbon jet fuels 4

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LIST

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5 ways Brexit could change the UK energy sector


Avangrid Renewables (formerly, Iberdrola Renewables)

C O M PA N Y PROFILES

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USA

44

Seadrill Europe

56

Solgen Energy Group Australia

70

Ergon Energy Australia

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From refrigeration to automation: envisions a sustainable future

US diversified manufacturing titans Ingersoll R efficiency in our built environment — and reduc Written by: Jennifer Johnson


PROFILE

Rand are taking on the issue of energy cing greenhouse gas emissions along the way


PROFILE

DIVERSIFICATION IS THE force that has propelled US manufacturer Ingersoll Rand from the early days of the industrial age to the 21st century. The company once held the patent for a rock drill credited with replacing the pick axe and revolutionising the mining industry — but in recent years it has been broadly concerned with creating sustainable environments. In practice, this means devising operational-level strategies for reducing energy use at home, in the workplace and in-transit. Ingersoll Rand works to create efficiency behind-the-scenes, helping businesses and consumers to save money while controlling their surroundings. The company’s

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family of brands includes Thermo King, a transport temperature control system manufacturer, and Trane, a supplier of air conditioning systems. As technologies like the Internet of Things continue to move into our built environments, Ingersoll Rand has acknowledged that its existing expertise could give it an edge in innovation. “We’ve been inside industries, improving the efficiency of processes inside those industries,” says Scott Tew Executive Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability at Ingersoll Rand. “We have been in the commercial and the home-building space as


F R O M R E F R I G E R AT I O N T O A U T O M AT I O N

“We have been in the commercial and the homebuilding space as long as any company. With that you gain a certain amount of unique knowledge on how buildings perform, and how they should perform” – Scott Tew, Executive Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

long as any company. With that you gain a certain amount of unique knowledge on how buildings perform, and how they should perform.” With the advent of ‘smart’ technologies, buildings can virtually monitor their own operations. Ingersoll Rand’s range of systems allow owners and occupants to manage their environments based upon information provided to them by the structures themselves. “Our entrance into the Internet of Things were developments to connect mechanical systems and automate them,” Tew says. The company’s goal is to take “human behaviour, and sometimes misbehavior” out of the equation. “The more a person knows about how something is working, the more options they have for managing it,” Tew explains.

Nexia, a home automation system, is one of the products Ingersoll Rand offers to help consumers understand how their homes use resources. It works by connecting devices — from HVAC systems to appliances to lighting — to a central hub. The ‘Nexia Bridge’ then transmits information about the home’s performance to its owner’s chosen device, be it a tablet, mobile phone or computer. “I think optimisation, whether we’re talking about a commercial building or a home, happens when we connect all of these various systems together and gain some insights,” says Tew. “I’m a huge believer in continuing to search for the data that gives you the right insight.” Making homes more efficient doesn’t just result in savings for consumers — reducing energy use also benefits the environment. 9


PROFILE

Solar powered Club Car fleet by Ingersoll Rand

“Our customers continue to look to us to solve one of their big issues, which continues to be energy use and energy productivity” –Scott Tew

Ingersoll Rand is currently the world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles, with production of its offroad recreational ‘Club Car’ outdoing all other EV producers by production volume. In this spirit, the company has also sought to make alterations to their larger-scale transport ventures. 10

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Large freight trucks waste a lot of time and fuel idling while being loaded or unloaded. At the same time, fuel-dependent temperature control systems are also working to keep perishable commodities cool. Engineers at Ingersoll Rand worked to remedy these inefficiencies through the creation of an all-electric auxiliary power unit (APU) which charges as a freight truck moves. “APU’s have the ability to reduce fuel use by up to 90 percent,” Tew reports. “This auxiliary power unit can provide comfort for the driver and can also power the refrigeration units for the perishables in the back without having the tractor on.” “When the tractor is idle the APU then kicks in and provides the power. There are tremendous energy savings, but there are also tremendous emissions savings.” As many businesses increase their ‘green’ offerings, consumers may wonder if they’re sacrificing performance or productivity for the sake of energy efficiency. Tew believes this doesn’t have to be the case. “Can we actually do things in the future that use less energy and we still have no trade-offs?” he asks. “We can


F R O M R E F R I G E R AT I O N T O A U T O M AT I O N

Platinum ZV 950 by Ingersoll Rand continue to be very productive and use energy differently. We don’t have to sacrifice our productivity levels.” Ingersoll Rand’s sustainability ethos stretches across its corporate structure, from its office headquarters to its manufacturing facilities. Five years ago, the company asked employees to form ‘green teams’ in order to develop pathways and strategies for reducing waste and energy use at local sites. According to Tew, the impact of employee-led sustainability initiatives has been ‘significant’. “Everybody wants to work for

a company that they believe is on the same page as them, and is working toward the same goals,” he explains. “We’re changing how we design products, we’re changing how we work with customers and we’re changing how we attack these issues as employees together.” For Tew and Ingersoll Rand, the future is now: “The thing that ties all of our brands together is energy and energy efficiency,” he says. “Our customers continue to look to us to solve one of their big issues, which continues to be energy use and energy productivity.” 11


Flying high

How Gevo is leading the way with lowcarbon jet fuel The airline industry has got to clean up its act — and fast. While electric cars are taking to the roads, there are no fuelfree commercial planes lined up on the runways of the world’s major airports. However, lowcarbon flight is possible and US biofuels producer Gevo believes it has the answer


TECHNOLOGY

Written by: JENNIFER JOHNSON


TECHNOLOGY

EVEN ON THE brightest of days, the skies remain a grey area where climate policy is concerned. Earlier this year, the global aviation industry agreed to its first ever carbon emissions standard, which will require a four percent reduction in the fuel consumption of newly-manufactured aircraft starting in 2028, with 2015 usage serving as the baseline. However, doubts remain as to whether the measure will have any 14

August 2016

significant impact on the industry’s carbon footprint. While the recent success of the Solar Impulse aircraft shows that sustainable aviation is possible, zero-fuel commercial flight is still a long way off. For now, replacing jet fuel with a renewable alternative appears to be the most practical way to reduce an aircraft’s CO2 emissions. “The problem that the airline industry faces is this: they know they emit very large quantities of green house


“If we ever get serious in this world about truly reducing our carbon content and the greenhouse gases that result, this is a way that could make a difference” – Dr. Patrick Gruber, the CEO of Gevo

gases.” says Dr. Patrick Gruber, the CEO of Gevo, a leading biofuels and renewable chemicals company headquartered in Colorado, USA. “They also know that if they don’t do something, they’re going to have a haphazard matrix of regulations throughout the world that would be near impossible to comply with.” For roughly a quarter of a century, the team at Gevo has been thinking about how to create a 15


TECHNOLOGY high-performing and cost-effective substitute for petrochemical products. Today, it believes that an alcohol called isobutanol — which can be chemically processed into a ‘drop-in’ replacement for jet fuel and gasoline — is the solution. “Isobutanol is interesting because it can be made from carbohydrates by fermentation,” Gruber explains. “If we do this right, and we believe we have, then the whole process is economical and can compete at a relatively low oil price and provide a product that is fully renewable resource-based.”

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Gevo initially produces isobutanol, as well as ethanol, at its fermentation plant in Luverne, Minnesota. The isobutanol made there are then sent to the company’s biorefinery in Silsbee, Texas for conversion into renewable jet fuel and gasoline. The jet fuel and gasoline made from isobtuanol are not only cleaner when burned — they can also have a higher energy density than typical fossil fuels. At present, the energy used to produce Gevo’s biofuels is not generated via clean sources. This ultimately results in a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when they are substituted for fossil fuels. Gruber believes that the issue of sourcing clean process energy will be resolved further down the line, once both the market and production infrastructure are more mature. “Is it possible to get to a zero greenhouse gas footprint with products like this?” Gruber asks. “I believe the answer is yes. It depends upon our sources of energy for steam and electricity.” Thus far, companies including Lufthansa and Alaska Airlines have tested Gevo’s isobutanol-based jet fuel for their planes. The key component


F LY I N G H I G H

of renewable gasoline is isooctane, which is made from isobutanol. Clients in the automotive market include French oil major Total, which began incorporating Gevo’s isooctane into its Formula 1 racing fuel in 2014. Practically speaking, there is not currently large-scale demand for isobutanol products in the aviation sector as the product

is not yet produced at a meaningful scale. However, Gruber thinks it is merely a matter of time before airlines come to acknowledge the carbonreduction challenge ahead of them, and adopt the renewable fuels. “If we ever get serious in this world about truly reducing our carbon content and the greenhouse gases that result, this is a way that could

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TECHNOLOGY

“Isobutanol is high performance and bio-based. And it can be costcompetitive, too” – Dr. Patrick Gruber, the CEO of Gevo 18

August 2016


F LY I N G H I G H

make a difference,” he says. The first step in getting biofuels into any fossil-fuelled aircraft or vehicle is to prove to consumers that there are viable, even preferable, alternatives available. “One of the paradigm-busting things that we attempt to do is show everybody that just because [isobutanol] is bio-based doesn’t mean the performance is bad,” Gruber continues. “In fact, it’s contrary. It’s high performance and bio-based. And it can be cost-competitive, too.” Gevo still lacks a full-scale production facility for jet fuel, and scaling up will have to coincide with an influx of capital from aviation firms looking to ‘go green’. In the short term, the company is seeking to secure more commercial agreements while preparing itself for an inevitable an influx of demand. “There’s a question of timing, who’s gonna do what, who will step up first,” Gruber explains. “Near as I can tell, we’re about in the right place at the right time with the right technology. I do believe that we have the most cost-competitive route to making a renewable resource-based jet fuel.” When the time for expansion is

at hand, Gevo plans to equip its Minnesota fermentation plant for increased isobutanol production before building international production facilities. Another of isobutanol’s advantages is that it can be made from whatever cost-competitive carbohydrates are available in a given locale. “We designed our technology so that it could use a variety of sources of sugars,” Gruber says. “So if you’re going to dream big and make a difference, you can’t just say: ‘I can only use sugar from Brazil’. Then I’m stuck there.” “How about we make something that can be used anywhere and everywhere?” Gevo has already licensed its technology into Argentina and in five years’ time, Gruber expects the company to be in outright growth mode with both low carbon jet fuel and gasoline. “We’re one of the last companies still standing who has been working in this space,” Gruber said. “And our technologies work at commercial scales, we’ve shown that already. It is all about growth and lining up with the markets.” 19


LIST

5 WA BREXIT C CHANGE ENERGY

Uncertainty has been the prevailing feelin to leave the European Union on 24 June almost immediately abolishing the Depa and merging it with the Department

Written by: JENN


AYS COULD E THE UK Y SECTOR

g in the energy sector since the UK voted e, with new Prime Minister Theresa May artment of Energy and Climate Change for Business, Innovation and Skills.

NIFER JOHNSON


LIST

HIGHER HOUSEHOLD ENERGY BILLS

1

If predictions made prior to the referendum come to pass, energy consumers could have higher bills to contend with in the coming months. In late March, then Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd warned that Brexit would likely cause energy costs to “rocket by at least half a billion pounds a year.” The Guardian also reported that a leader at Centrica, which owns British Gas, predicted that customers would see higher energy costs in the event of a leave vote. The value of Sterling has dropped 22

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dramatically since the referendum result, and this will have a significant impact on the cost of imported energy. A report by Greenpeace’s Energydesk identified trade data suggesting that the UK spends nearly £21 billion on imported energy each year. If the pound drops the 20 percent that insiders claimed it could, energy consumers would bear the brunt of an extra £4 billion in imported energy bills. While a lower-value pound could increase the UK’s export revenue, though this must be set against the prospect of higher trade barriers.


5 W AY S B R E X I T C O U L D C H A N G E T H E U K E N E R G Y S E C T O R

While companies who have already invested in UK energy infrastructure have promised to follow through with their commitments, investments in the sector will inevitably slow. France’s EDF, who is building the Hinkley Point nuclear project, and Germany’s Siemens, who is putting the finishing touches on a wind turbine manufacturing hub in Hull, have both promised to see their respective projects through to completion. However, Siemens has frozen new wind power investment in the UK and the European Investment Bank (EIB), which has provided Britain with £42 billion of low cost loans for green energy infrastructure in the past decade, has said there was “clear uncertainty” for the prospect of future loans. Peter Munro, Head of Investor Relations for the EIB, told Bloomberg in February: “If you’re not a shareholder or you’re not part of the EU, you wouldn’t derive the same privileges as a shareholder or an EU member.”

PAUSES IN ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT

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EUROPEAN INTERCONNECTOR PLANS PUT AT RISK Experts have long predicted a UK energy shortfall in the 2020s as coal power stations close and oil and gas output falls into decline. In response, the country has planned to install new interconnectors with Denmark, France, Norway and Belgium to import as much as 14GW of additional capacity. In light of Brexit, leading global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has warned that “the relevant regulatory framework for interconnectors in the EU will fall away for UK interconnectors.” However, if Britain remains part of the EU’s Internal Energy Market (IEM), the commercial case for interconnectors may only suffer minimally, if at all. A spokesperson for the National

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Grid said: “The IEM ensures the efficient flow of secure, sustainable and affordable electricity to the UK and enables the export of excess energy to mainland Europe.” A report issued by London-based consultancy Vivid Economics prior to the referendum said that leaving the IEM means “undermining the business case for further investment in interconnection between the UK and its neighbours.” Even if pre-Brexit interconnector installations go ahead as planned, the cheaper electricity the projects would have provided will still be in jeopardy because the Pound may weaken against the Euro.

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4 CONTINUED TURMOIL FOR NORTH SEA OIL Many of Britain’s decades-old North Sea oil fields were in decline prior to the 24 June Brexit vote. Now, political uncertainty and the increasing likelihood of another Scottish independence referendum will only worsen the investment climate.   According to Bloomberg, the fall in the value of sterling against the US dollar will cut costs for oil

companies and sales of crude — denominated in dollars — will benefit. However, this doesn’t change the fact that, if Scotland were to split from the UK, they would be handed some 96 percent of oil production. North Sea oil will likely suffer from a lack of investment and development until geopolitical conditions are clarified — a process which could take years. 25


LIST

5 AIR POLLUTION RESTRICTIONS PUT AT RISK — UNLESS POLITICIANS INTERVENE London Mayor Sadiq Khan has expressed concerns that air pollution will fall off the political agenda as energies shift toward negotiating the terms and conditions of Brexit. On 5 July, he put forth a series of proposals for tackling smog in the capital, including a £10 pollution charge for drivers in Central London. Khan unveiled the plans at an event at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he said: “Clearly the UK leaving the EU could weaken our ability to tackle air pollution, and it could mean the public could end up with less legal protection over their right to breathe clean air.” “Leaving the EU should not be the first step of us going back to being known as the dirty man of Europe.”

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Up for the upstr

Written by Joh Produced by K


ream challenge

hn O’Hanlon Kiron Chavda

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SEADRILL

Oil exploration depends on cost effective drilling and nobody does this more safely and reliably than Seadrill, a company that is leveraging the power of partnership to deliver a sustainable future for this vital industry

S

eadrill is a relatively new company in a well-established industry. Founded in 2005 by the Norwegian-born oil tanker owner John Fredriksen and listed in Oslo and New York, it has grown very rapidly by acquisition to become one of the leading resources for global O&G companies, with 68 offshore drilling rigs. The company’s strategy is to maintain the youngest and most modern rigs, tailor made for its clients’ operations working in both harsh and benign environments, from tender and jack-up rigs for shallower waters to semi submersibles and drillships for deep and ultra-deep water work. Its operations are controlled from six regional offices round the world and supported by 2 technical centres based in Dubai and Houston. There’s no avoiding the fact that with hydrocarbon prices at rock bottom, these are difficult times for upstream

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operators. Oil prices may take years to return to the previous levels but this is a cyclical business as pointed out recently by Per Wulff, CEO of Seadrill: “The upturn will come; it’s just a matter of when. We have the youngest fleet of all the major offshore drilling companies and this, coupled with best in class operation and a sustainable cost structure, will stand us in good stead for the future.” But this will entirely depend on keeping right at the front of the pack, and finding a way to operate profitably in the real world price environment, a situation that has escalated the importance of IT in managing and improving the key drivers for offshore exploration and production: safe and efficient operations. The strategic nature of IT in the organisation was recognised when Seadrill appointed Kaveh Pourteymour as its VP and CIO in January 2015. He’s a heavyweight


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SEADRILL

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The num drillships semi-sub and ten


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business leader who has worked as CIO of BP Global Refining and International Business, as CIO of BOC Edwards, as a partner at KPMG and for the last nine years has served as Adjunct Professor at Imperial College. IT central to strategy

Pourteymour epitomises the trend we have followed in recent years, in which CIOs have moved from the back office to a position at the centre of the mber of business’s strategy. s, jack-up, “The ‘I’ in my job title no bmersibles longer stands for simply nder rigs Information,” he says. “My team and I are less concerned these days with IT component management and keeping the lights on’; we have competent partners to see to that. The emphasis of the ‘I’ is now more on intelligence; innovation; integration; influence – and ensuring the integrity of our systems and managing their risk, their security and their compliance!” Like his CEO he is upbeat about

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the prospects for Seadrill in the market. “We have good utilisation of our assets, even if day rates have fallen, and we are winning new contracts even if they tend to be shorter term ones than previously.” He sees the response to the difficult market conditions, which have become fiercely competitive by continuing to invest in the best technology to make Seadrill safer, efficient, more competitive and differentiated. One bold outcome of this strategy was the decision to create a strong IT centre of excellence in Seadrill’s new service centre in Liverpool which also houses the shared services for the business’s human resources and accounting functions. His IT team comprises around 50 people, half of them now based on Liverpool’s waterfront and the other half embedded in the regions close to the operations. The move was an opportunity to implement his vision for the department. “Before our IT transformation agenda, it was not clear what IT does and why it costs so much. There were challenges

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Accelerating next

© Copyright 2016 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP.


The future belongs to the fast. And to help you accelerate, we’ve created a new company. One totally focused on what’s next for your business.

hpe.com


SEADRILL

around system reliability, investing in the right solutions and delivering projects on time so we needed to bring in capable and competent IT professionals to solve these.” Fundamentally, he has built a new structure from scratch since January 2015. “I personally interviewed over a hundred people as we built the team in Liverpool. Technical ability was not enough – we were looking for leaders.” They deliberately targeted talent from a range of industries, not just O&G and as part

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of their training sent their recruits out onto the rigs to learn about life in the field. “When you are designing systems you need to understand what they are ultimately for and how they will be used. Our systems need to operate in harsh offshore environments, enable integrated operations and be user friendly.” Building the digital platform

An O&G industry veteran himself, Kaveh Pourteymour understood the need to look at IT upside down as


it were, starting at the sharp end of the business. “Our systems need to enable our rigs to operate safely and reliably. They need to support the agility and efficiency of our supply chain. They enable our onshore back office and administrative functions to operate efficiently. They support collaboration and the capability development of our people. Our business intelligence programme is turning our data resource into intelligence. Vital to this is are our communications

networks consisting of satellite communications and WANs connecting the rigs and the onshore offices over multiple time zones and carrying large volumes of voice, video and data.� Letting key partners take the strain

Seadrill moved its headquarters from Norway to London in late 2012, and following that it was decided to close the former infrastructure hub at Stavanger and to move its

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SEADRILL

“Our priority now is building a digital platform that allows Seadrill to operate these rigs very efficiently” – Kaveh Pourteymour, VP and CIO infrastructure to a cloud provider. After a process of evaluation, it decided to opt for HP’s private cloud infrastructure, now part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). “We started moving our operations to our virtual private cloud (VPC) provider HPE in October 2014. Our IT infrastructure is now 100 percent in a hybrid private and public cloud.” This means that from that point the IT department no longer had to be concerned with component management and keeping the lights on, he emphasises. It is now defined as an organisation that manages the IT value chain, working with its suppliers and business partners to enable business outcome through use of technology. He instigated a process of consolidating these suppliers into a smaller, more strategic cohort. This is perhaps the real transformation

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– IT suppliers, even when called partners, are traditionally engaged under the ‘black box’ model: what he wanted was for his partners to be much more integrated with Seadrill. “We see them as extensions of our organisation participating in how we work with our business, understanding their goals and trajectory and helping them to achieve those goals. Partnership means something really close. We proactively share strategies and plans, and their input does help us formulate these.” Since January 2015 this process has taken place at monthly ‘town hall’ meetings open to key partners, not least HPE, where hundreds of people from the partners’ dedicated teams join the townhall over Skype for Business to hear directly from the CIO about current IT challenges. “The town hall meetings give


them privileged insight into our business.” As well as HPE which manages 80 percent of Seadrill’s infrastructure in its VPC, BT is part of the discussion having migrated the company’s WAN network from Verizon in 2015. The two satellite providers, Harris CapRock and Rignet provide Seadrill’s vessels with reliable communications as they move around oil and gas exploration and production regions.

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At the same time he conducts performance reviews with these partners. “These communications are frank in both directions, just like the appraisals we do with our own employees. They’re an opportunity to identify what they can do better and what we can do better. When outsourcing, you are missing a big opportunity if you treat partners like black boxes. They would like to understand the vision, feel part of


the team and contribute to the bigger agenda. We wanted to open that opportunity to those partners who are dedicated to our business to feel engaged and get energised by the contributions they make to our agenda.� Effectively, it increases the size of Seadrill’s IT team many fold. In fact, Skype for Business is now widely used as the main communications technology across Rigs and offices, cutting the time

and expense of travel and improving individual and team collaborations. A new approach to training

The people Seadrill brought in to populate the new IT team, brought with them a lot of high level and very diverse expertise, so keen to make the best use of them in January 2016, the ISIT Academy was established. This is a training unit that aims to continually develop the IT team’s

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SEADRILL

Sead headqu in Lon

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capabilities and competencies. Initially, the IT team developed their own modules based on the specific needs and circumstances of the business, something that an outside trainer would struggle to do. Already nine courses have been developed, and every member of the 50 strong IT team has completed at least two of these. “The ISIT Academy provides an important platform to develop our capabilities. Our team have embraced their learning and development agenda with enthusiasm.” drill is To further enrich uartered the ISIT academy, ndon they are also looking to bring in outside content. Scalable for growth

Upstream oil businesses like drillers, service providers and equipment providers used to work in silos. Pourteymour believes the new realities presented by the low price market provides opportunities for creation of a new and more efficient integrated value chain. In its first

ten years the company grew by acquisition and that strategy will continue when market conditions allow. “Our priority now is building a digital platform that allows Seadrill to operate these rigs very efficiently. We have been upgrading our satellite links, our applications and our IT infrastructure, and putting more of it into the HPE cloud so we’re ready to handle more rigs if we need to scale up. That is the beauty of being in the cloud – it is easy to scale the operation in a trice. In our first ten years Seadrill grew very rapidly. I am hoping that when the market returns we will return to the growth mode. The cloud allows us to expand as and when necessary – when we need it. The technology we are putting in place allows us to be able to upgrade, and add capacity as the market dictates.” With the advancement and maturation of technologies and the market forces in the upstream business, Pourteymour believes this is this the most exciting time to be in IT in the Oil and Gas industry.

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Wind in their blades: Avangrid Renewables’ plans to revolutionize US wind energy Written by Jennifer Johnson Produced by Tom Venturo


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Avangrid Renewables

With two major wind farms in the works, and nearly 60 renewable energy projects already generating power, Avangrid Renewables is leading the charge for clean energy in the US.

L 208MW The amount of power generated by 104 turbines at the Amazon Wind Farm US East

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ast summer, construction began on the first utility-scale wind farm in North Carolina, Avangrid Renewables’ Amazon Wind Farm US East, aka Desert Wind, located across a rural section of the state’s northeastern Perquimans and Pasquotank Counties. Once completed, the wind farm will boast 104 turbines, a capacity of 208MW and one very famous client: Amazon Web Services. “It’s one of our first large projects for somebody other than a traditional utility or municipality,” said Erik Lallum, Avangrid Renewables’ Vice President of Engineering and Construction. “That opportunity is what has helped us grow this North Carolina project from a development opportunity to a construction project that will be delivering MW of electricity by the end of the year.” Avangrid Renewables, based in Portland, Oregon, is currently the second-largest provider of clean energy in the US. Over the course of the last decade, it has been transformed from a non-regulated subsidiary of ScottishPower


USA

to the innovative, US renewable energy division of one of Europe’s biggest utilities. Lallum began his career at the company in 2005, when it was still known as PPM Energy and had yet to crack the 1000MW of renewable energy milestone. When Iberdrola — Spain’s largest energy group and a global leader in wind energy — purchased PPM’s parent company, ScottishPower, in 2007, Lallum was tasked with building a project management organization for the new entity. And a major growth period ensued. Today, the company owns approximately 6000MW of wind and solar generation and has been rebranded as Avangrid Renewables, a non-regulated entity of the publicly traded Avangrid (AGR). “We had multifunctional energy development capability on the West Coast in Portland, Oregon,” Lallum says. “I was part of that in the project management group so when Iberdrola purchased us, they asked me to move to the East

Coast to duplicate the model that we had developed under PPM Energy. So I moved out to the East Coast, began hiring project managers and engineers and built a very capable project organization.” At first, the newly created Iberdrola Renewables proceeded with two parallel teams working on either side of the USA. As the organization matured through its peak growth period, however,

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Lallum saw an opportunity to merge the construction group with the engineering group in 2011. “I brought the development support technical team together with the project management and construction team and made one integrated team to support development and manage the construction of our projects,” he explains. “Now we have a really seamless process that starts in development, advances through project approval and construction and allows us to deliver a project that has really had all of the right input from the very beginning.” When Avangrid Renewables sets about constructing a

clean energy project — be it a solar park or a wind farm — ensuring quality and durability is of paramount importance. “We are a developer who is also a long term owner-operator,” says Lallum. “The quality of projects, and what goes into projects, from development through construction, is very important to us so that we have a reliable project for many years after construction.” Currently, Lallum and his unified team are overseeing the construction of two major wind farms: the Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East and New Mexico’s ‘El Cabo’. The latter is located in Torrance County, New Mexico,

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Avangrid Renewables

“At Avangrid Renewables, we want to be part of the solution. We strive to be the cleanest IPP in the US and are committed to combatting climate change. We believe that renewable energy is the right way to do this” –Erik Lallum, Vice President of Engineering & Construction

roughly 60 miles from the state capital, Albuquerque, and will produce more than 298MW of wind power once it is constructed and operating. El Cabo will feature up to 142 Gamesa G114 2.1MW turbines and produce enough energy to power at least 75,000 homes annually. Earlier this year, it was announced that the energy generated at the wind farm will be supplied exclusively to a California utility, Southern California Edison. “We will have back feed power to the plant and begin commissioning turbines in May of 2017 in order to meet New Mexico tax incentive requirements”, Lallum says. “And then the entire project will be completed prior to the end of the year. Besides these two projects,

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Lallum indicated his team will be starting construction on 3 more projects yet this year. “It feels good to be on a growth trajectory again and my team is ready and very capable of delivering safe, quality projects.” However, building a wind farm is not as easy as simply showing up on a suitable plot of land and attaching rotor blades to towers. Avangrid Renewables must select its sites based on market need — and contend with the court of public opinion from there. “We select our sites for a couple of reasons,” Lallum explains. “We start with guidance from our energy management team. It is this team that provides our view of the market and through interface with existing and potential


USA

75k

The number of homes that will be powered by the El Cabo Wind Project

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customers, guides our development efforts where we see the greatest opportunity and market need.” “Beyond that, we look to combine the market opportunities where we have development pipeline and favorable policy to support our projects. I should also note that while we maintain the capability to self-develop greenfield projects from our development pipeline, we can also step into projects at any phase of development.” Historically, some populations have been opposed to the construction of wind farms in their communities — with some citing noise pollution and aesthetic concerns as reasons to protest the installation of turbines. As a result, Avangrid Renewables must

set about conducting significant public consultation before work can commence on any new wind project “In development, we try to be transparent with communities by hosting open houses, preparing simulations and listening to the concerns of local communities.” Lallum reports that both Desert Wind and El Cabo were met with “overwhelming” community support in their early stages, and with these projects scheduled for completion in 2016 and 2017 respectively, he is turning his gaze toward the future. “Our plan is to develop and build approximately 1500 megawatts by 2020,” he says. “With that said,

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Avangrid Renewables

we feel this is our base plan and we’re exploring ways to expand that. It truly is an exciting time for our industry and company.” With renewables finally starting to take a firm foothold in the US energy market, Lallum is confident that innovations in clean energy will continue to deliver cost competitiveness and be a viable mainstream energy source. He speaks of battery storage as a key technology still in its infancy, but with potential to address a number of grid stability concerns, including mitigating the intermittency of renewables. Lallum also stresses that wind turbines themselves are continuing to improve in efficiency and cost. With that said, he believes the current technology to watch is PV solar, where costs continue to decline and efficiency continues to improve. For utility scale, this technology is headed to less than $1.00 per watt DC all-in, which makes solar very attractive in a number of markets and locations. “In wind, we’re going to continue

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to see taller towers and larger rotors. Additionally, turbine manufacturers are delivering new turbine control solutions leading to greater output on an individual turbine basis, and more efficient ways in which to operate these turbines. This is what is driving the next phase of growth in wind.” As it stands, the demand for power will continue to rise on a global scale — as will concerns about reducing carbon emissions. Avangrid Renewables operates, and thrives, at the intersection of energy needs and environmental concerns. “The point is: people are very concerned about climate change, not just in the US, but globally,” Lallum says. “At Avangrid Renewables, we want to be part of the solution. We strive to be the cleanest IPP in the US and are committed to combatting climate change. We believe that renewable energy is the right way to do this.”


USA

“At Avangrid Renewables, we want to be part of the solution. We strive to be the cleanest IPP in the US and are committed to combatting climate change. We believe that renewable energy is the right way to do this” – Erik Lallum, Vice President of Engineering & Construction

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W elcoming

a new era of clean energy With technological advances moving the renewables industry forward at lightening-speed, there’s never been a more exciting time to be in energy. Solgen Energy Group, positioned at the forefront of the industry’s evolution, has much in store to capitalise on the innovations at hand

Written by Sarah Megginson Produced by Josef Smith

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W

hen compared to more mature industries, solar is a relatively new energy. This means the amount of opportunity in renewable energy is almost unsurpassed – and the possibilities for the future are endless. This was the line of thinking when rooftop solar installer Mark Group joined forces with commercial solar business Solgen Energy in late 2015. The merged company became Solgen Energy Group, in a strategic collaboration designed to capture the leading share of Australia’s booming solar market. Today, advanced technology, engineering and people are at Solgen’s core, says CEO David Brown, who is steering the ship as the business aims to shape a new, participatory era in clean energy. “The amount of new technology

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ENERGY

David Naismith Executive General Manager Commercial, Industrial & Government

coming online and the pace at which they’re running is exciting, so it’s an extremely interesting time to be a part of this industry,” Brown says. “We see massive opportunities to match renewable energy solutions with optimal financial packages for our customers and commercial clients. Restructured around several new divisions, Solgen Energy Group can now offer solutions for a range of clients, including residential customers on a house-by-house basis, through to larger developments, commercial complexes and industrial businesses. “Our new operating model has a dedicated business model to suit the SME space, given the huge

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SOLGEN ENERGY GROUP

“The sorts of quality components that are coming through are really making solar a great proposition and the sophistication in technology is making it more affordable for a broader segment of the market” – David Naismith, Executive General Manager Commercial, Industrial & Government

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ENERGY

opportunities there, along with a home division and commercial division, which is a comprehensive spread across all segments of the market,” Brown says. “But our key point of differentiation has been introducing a dedicated new team, our ‘new ventures’ division. This allows us to dedicate resources solely towards developing and researching new technology, so we can stay on the leading edge of the changes that are coming into the industry.” Sophisticated advancements in solar tech In recent years we have witnessed incredible growth and change

in the renewable energy Energy, with solar in particular becoming a huge part of everyday life for an increasing number of Australians. Indeed, Australia leads the world in household solar panel installations, with the Energy Supply Association of Australia reporting that around 15 per cent of Australian homes have solar panels. “The Australian market overall is known for being very fast adapters of new technology. The uplift of solar in Australia has been incredible compared to the rest of the world and strongly supported by government subsidies and the like,” Brown says. Further growth will be made possible through further

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SOLGEN ENERGY GROUP

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advancements in technology around efficiencies and output that have been “quite amazing”, Brown says. “I recently witnessed, first hand, many examples of the latest technological advances from around the globe at Intersolar in Munich. Manufacturers of panels, inverters and of course storage systems are investing heavily in improving functionality, capacity and efficiency and this will all result in better outcomes for our residential customers and commercial clients.” “For example, we’re now using panels that have up to 25 years’ warranty and operate at 95 percent efficiency. The sorts of quality components that are coming through are really making solar a great proposition and the sophistication in technology is making it more affordable for a broader segment of the market,” he explains. They’re also enabling operators like Solgen Energy Group to tailor solutions to businesses on a much larger scale. “The benefit of having a group as

broadly based as ours means we have a broad array of opportunities. For instance in the SME space we work with a lot of schools and many local councils across several States,” Brown says. “We worked with the Redlands School, which is preschool to year 12, where we installed a 25KW system. At the time it was one of the largest installs in all Australian schools, so that will tell you how much times have changed in terms of the scale of projects now.” Last year they also managed a major solar install for Tyrell’s Wines, which added a 350KW PV system to its site to generate almost 40 percent of the winery’s energy requirements. “It was one of the first commercial solar installations under a Power Purchase Agreement in Australia and we’re very proud of it. New purchasing models for commercial solar are developing rapidly in the Australian market and we want to ensure we are at the forefront,” Brown says. The NBN rollout provided another opportunity to demonstrate their

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expertise on large-scale projects, as Solgen successfully completed a contract to install 1.75kMW across many sites nationally. Earlier this year, they also completed a large solar project at Adelaide Airport, installing just short of 1.2MW. “It increased their solar power generation by 10 times and now every time you fly out of Adelaide Airport, you can see almost 4,500 panels glistening on the roof. Our bespoke design was quite leading edge for the industry and our guys did a fantastic job delivering that project.” Solar storage: A new age in renewables With plenty of projects both large and small behind them, Solgen are well aware of the next frontier to conquer in renewables, Brown confirms: energy storage. At present, homeowners and businesses can harness the sun’s

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energy to power their immediate usage, but any energy they don’t immediately use is sent back to the grid, often for a nominal return. Solar batteries, which offer the opportunity to capture and store unused energy for later use, are going to be the next gamechanger in the industry, which is why Solgen are already trialling a number of products in this space. “Storage is on everyone’s mind. We have a range of storage options that we’re trialing and testing. Some are batteries, but some are beyond that, and are focused more in relation to the way people manage their power,” Brown explains. “The main thing that has slowed it down has been cost, but through our strong relationships with financing partners, for example our Classic Finance partnership servicing residential customers, we’re able to offer our customers a very real


ENERGY

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and solid solution in relation to being able to relieve the burden of a single capital outlay and still reap the financial benefits of solar.” While there is a lot of activity in the solar storage space at present, Brown expects it will continue, “particularly over the next 12 Augusts”. “We’ve seen the introduction of the Tesla battery, which has been a very high profile entry in the market globally,” he adds. “We’ve started to put Tesla batteries on

houses, which is very exciting.” Their partnership with Tesla is one of many that is proving to be a mutual success, as Solgen has been successful in helping a number of key businesses across Australia in reaching impressive renewable energy targets. For instance, they have a strong relationship with councils, including Gosford City Council and the City of Sydney. At the latter, they have very

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SOLGEN ENERGY GROUP

ambitious energy targets of a 70 percent carbon reduction, and producing 25 percent of their energy needs from renewables, by 2030. “We have a comprehensive relationship with them and we’ve installed solar solutions over 30 sites, including sporting grounds, community theatres and office blocks, to help them achieve these targets,” Brown says. “There’s an array of projects like this that we’ve undertaken over the

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last couple of years that really display our broad range of engineering capabilities. But the great thing about the industry is that while the technology is extremely high tech, it’s getting better and better all the time. We’re leveraging our engineering expertise and our breadth across the country with a great team behind us to take an active role in the direction of the industry. As it matures, we intend to play our part –it’s definitely an exciting time to be in solar.”


ENERGY

Matt Purvis Executive General Manager Home

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Networking to po


ower the planet Written by John O’Hanlon Produced by Vince Kielty


ERGON ENERGY

Ergon Energy could be called the heart of Queensland, but it is not content to be a local electricity generator: it is grabbing the attention of the energy industry in many parts of the world as they realise that the business models they inherited no longer work in the face of disruptive technology

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T

he sheer size of Queensland at 1,852,642 square kilometres it is larger than Alaska but with six times the population – presents a big administration challenge, not least when it comes to energy provision. It is well known internationally for its tourism, surfing and the Great Barrier Reef but is currently coming to the centre of global attention as its capital Brisbane prepares to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018. It’s known as the ‘Sunshine

State’ for its beach culture, but that name is highly apposite as the world moves, largely unpreparedly, from fossil fuel reliance to a more renewable mix. Queensland gets a great deal of sun and has the highest average maximums of any Australian state. Ergon Energy, owned by the Queensland government, both distributes and sells electricity to Queenslanders at prices regulated by the State. Distribution is over a network of some 160,000 kilometres of powerlines supported by a million poles and pylons. It also owns and

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AUSTRALIA

operates 33 standalone power stations serving some of the remote communities the grid can’t reach, as well as the Barcaldine gas-fired power station which supplies power to the main grid. The company was formed in 1999, from six regional Queensland electricity distributors and their subsidiary retailer. In some ways its legacy allies it to the entities that have grown up across the planet to address the new economic and technical landscape, but for a number of reasons it stands out from its peers. Its experience in reaching out to isolated communities, including a number of islands, is highly relevant to energy businesses in the many places that face similar problems, particularly in emerging economies but also in the great land masses of America, China and India. What it does to ‘provide safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable energy solutions to support our customers and the Queensland economy’ is just its daily bread. This is a company that is taking a holistic view of the future energy landscape, taking into account technology, economics, business and market models that work as well as global imperatives like climate change and population growth. Peter Nimmo has the enviable job of driving forward the future agenda. As Ergon’s Director of Effective Market Reform, he wants to see Ergon Energy becoming recognised not just in Australia but globally as a benchmark future network provider. Economies that adhere to old fashioned models

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of investment in baseload capacity, whether nuclear or fossil fuel, fail to step back and consider wider macroeconomic models for network planning, he says. “That is where I see Ergon playing a big role. We have the highest residential rooftop solar saturation on the planet climbing to 40 percent in our network, as against significantly less in the rest of Australia.� Hand in hand with this level of technical innovation goes the innovation opportunity for business model evolution, he adds. Ergon is

currently merging with its long-term joint venture partner Energex, based in Townsville in the north of Queensland to create the largest network and energy operation in Australia. The goal for the expanded company is to become what he calls an intelligent distributed network service provider (DNSP) that embraces digital solutions, big data and systems integration. In other words, while the grid will always be with us, and there are a host of ways to make it smarter, there has to be


AUSTRALIA

“Analytics from Space-Time Insight via a proof of concept is also helping us capitalise on the opportunities inherent in energy market reform and certainly to seek better ways to serve customers and perform better as a company. Such analytics allows us to fully integrate distributed energy resources into the grid to continue to deliver reliable, sustainable and affordable power to customers but also improve choice” – Peter Nimmo, Director of Effective Market Reform

a way to make it work as part of a growing ecosystem of alternative and independent energy sources, microgrids, renewable projects and the like, all united under a business model that puts sustainability, the consumer, energy security, the climate and the national interest at the forefront. This concept of a resilient ‘transactive energy’ network is being considered at Ergon by Peter Nimmo and his team with an eye on the wider implications. “Ergon is a diverse business under a single shareholder:

our consumers range from domestic to small business to major industries like mining, agriculture and of course tourism. And we have plenty of experience facing the challenge such as our remote communities.” Many of these are on the mainland, like the Birdsville geothermal power station 1,600 kilometres west of Brisbane, which powers the town’s mini grid, but the Torres Straits islands are also part of Queensland and require isolated generation, increasingly with renewables in the mix. For

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example the 4,000 inhabitants of Thursday Island used to rely entirely on diesel generation but now has a $25 million wind generation plant that saves up to 600,000 litres of diesel and 1,700 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. Innovation is only useful if it is developed in line with future demand. Everyone gets excited about electric vehicles (EVs), and Nimmo has spent a lot of time travelling to countries like the USA, Taiwan and the UK helping develop EV models. As we spoke, he had just returned from Ergon partner Mitsubishi in Japan

for discussions about the second generation Outlander 4x4 hybrid. “We were talking about range extension, battery recycling and battery life. In Australia we have growing numbers of EVs and PHEV’s on the road: in five years’ time we can expect a multiple of those battery packs coming back and we can make use of these. They have potential use in the grid, people’s homes or in industry if we ask the questions about how they can be repurposed.” The current regulatory framework in most countries is not keeping up with technology, he warns. The


AUSTRALIA

real challenge is business model innovation around the technology so as to unlock its full potential and value. “We are trying to unite our collective strengths and our people and our markets in a transition that allows us to continue to bring products to the customer that they actually value.” The old models are being disrupted not by being directly challenged (they still have their place in the mix) so much as by a process of ‘regulatory arbitrage’ which involves reform processes from the bottom up. “MicroGrids are a case in point,” he says. “They are an important part of the energy

system but not fully connected: the existing system can’t fully cater to them because there’s no mechanism for the regulator to interact with them for the entire value they offer. Hence the need and desire to look at transactive and dynamic energy components.” He points to the UK, where optimising renewable energy or bringing in products to the market that are clearly beneficial, perhaps because of customer uptake, results in innovations which are rewarded more favorably by the regulators. We can do no more here than point out a few of the ways that Ergon

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Energy may transform the market, its consumers and the industries that connect to it. The idea though, according to Peter Nimmo, is to deliberately position the company as one that is moving from an enhanced to an intelligent energy business model. “We aim to not only deliver better product to our customers but also a better solution to cater to the challenges technology innovation that lie ahead.” To take that forward Australia’s Energy Networks Association (ENA) and the national science body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are producing a network transformation roadmap (NTR). This acknowledges that the way consumers use and value energy will evolve over the long term. In 2013, CSIRO completed its Future Grid Forum which considered the decade 2015 to 2025. Both this and the roadmap are collaborative

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ventures in which all stakeholders can get involved. ‘Collaborative’ is a word Peter Nimmo uses frequently when describing his vision for growth: “It is a progressive story about innovation and using local resources and underlying capability, both physical and human but also relying on and collaborating with global partners with innovation. We


AUSTRALIA

can start in local towns in Australia, by trying to work out new models here we can solve the problems locally, then scale up to address the national debate on energy security and energy transition, enabled by renewable technology and the greater transition to a low carbon economy.� This is how he hopes to realise the vision he has for a sustainable

energy model in Queensland that can lead Australia to attract international attention for energy providers – and regulators – looking for better ways to partner and to collaborate to help transition into a new energy market whilst supporting the broader social implications and scale facing other emerging economies.

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Peter Nimmo Director of Effective Market Reform

An ethical executive whom values economic strategies and principals to build success through new Leadership. A true value innovator and leader that delivers. Peter is a Specialist in global convergence and strategic response, an influencer and team builder for quantum leaps that translates complex concepts into real opportunities that enroll people into a common vision for success. Peter is skilled at opening the minds, and the unlocking of hidden talent with underlying resources to create the next opportunities whilst offering high levels of passion, drive and vision. Peter’s worldly knowledge is sought after in the energy, transport, water and leadership sectors.

4,500

Number of employees at Ergon Energy 82

August 2016


AUSTRALIA

“At Ergon we are trying to unite our strengths and our people and our markets in a transition that allows us to continue to bring products to the customer that they actually value” – Peter Nimmo, Director of Effective Market Reform

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