Future State of the Energy System

The Future State of the Energy System stream at MEFL’s Spark! 2018 Conference discussed the shifts taking place in the energy system and the opportunities that these changes present.

 The stream featured the expertise of:

  • Ed McManus, CEO of Powershop
  • Alison Rowe, CEO of MEFL
  • Bruce Thompson, Chief Operations Officer at GreenSync
  • Bruce Mountain, Director of the Victorian Energy Policy Centre
  • Facilitator Dugald Murray, MEFL board member and Executive Director – Policy & Public Affairs at Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Our CEO, Alison Rowe began with an illustration of the huge changes that are occurring in the energy market.

In particular, she highlighted that significant changes in the resource mix were expected, with utility solar, rooftop PV and battery storage and utility scale storage growing significantly over the next 20 years.


Alison also highlighted just how decentralised the future grid will be, consisting of a range of different energy sources connected by a number of grids.

However, she reiterated that along with these changes, there was significant scope for communities to be involved.  In particular, there are opportunities for communities to:

  • Aggregate through community owned retailers, community retailer partnerships, community and developer models, PPAs, bulk buy (solar, batteries and EVs)
  • Supply through community energy projects, virtual net metering and microgrids
  • Influence demand through rooftop solar and battery products, energy efficiency products, demand response and tariff reviews

Bruce Mountain commented on the increasing complexity of the grid due to rising input from rooftop solar, and high investment cost of new control technology.

Ed McManus mentioned the increasing volatility of the electricity market associated with the rise of PV generation.

The Q&A component of the session led to a discussion of how it was unlikely that political leadership and policymakers would contribute to this transition. Instead, entrepreneurs had an important role of working with communities to ensure the transition of the system is equitable.

Finally, the stream concluded with a discussion of energy poverty and the critical importance of ensuring that no one gets left behind as this energy transition is occurring. As part of this, the importance of engaging consumers to understand their energy bills and ensure they were on the best tariff was highlighted. A solution that was proposed was the use of data based products where companies use energy data to find the best offer on behalf of consumers.

Thank you to our speakers for sharing their expertise.

For more information on the other streams, please visit our Spark! 2018 page.