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Being in the space of Ballarat energy futures

It’s been a while that I have been in the space of foresight and may be in innovation too.

First thing that excited me is, Ballarat Energy Network created with a vision to create community owned energy network with 100% renewable energy. As I have been researching/studying in the security operations of microgrids and VPPs, this is a delight as it closely aligns to the community microgrids work that I am recently working with Prof. Jahangir. Ballarat Energy Network has set up 4 milestones and wants to achieve their goals by 2030. I understood that the team is presently working on their milestone 1 - creating a business, feasibility study and working on the viability. The biggest challenge as explained by the CEO, Mr. Michael Poulton is to build capability to show where the power is generated so that the consumer can decide which company to buy from. All the best to the team in achieving their ambitious goals and looking forward to the story to be created by Ballarat, may be an opportunity to collaborate, contribute and be part of this story.

Other notable points of the event are

  • Is disruptive innovation possible in energy sector? I liked the response from the energy advocate, one of the facilitators, Mr. Stuart Benjamin that in a highly regulated sector like power backcasting is a suited foresight technique that can be applied to achieve the plausible futures in the time lines that we want to be, e.g. the vision of Ballarat Energy Network as stated above and Netzero by 2030 which we keep hearing a lot. The journey can have multiple incremental innovations and disruptive innovations too. I agree to his opinion as I can see that the utility networks are banking on incremental innovations while the solar power based renewable energy industry has already created enough disruption with their innovation and penetration in the traditional energy network.

  • A beautiful introduction on IEC 61850 standards implementation through a controller in a sub-station as we are studying on the transition/coexisting of IEEE 2030.5 and IEC61850, especially the security standards IEC 62351 between the traditional and IoT based renewable energy networks. Meeting couple of other experts in the areas of fluids used in transformers and safety of substations in the mining industry are educational to me.

Looking forward to finding time to continue my study and research work in community microgrids and sharing the renewable energy while not leaving the secured operation of DERs.

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