Energy Users: Participation (or not?) in automated and distributed energy futures

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10 Nov 2020 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Greater participation (or not?) from energy users

This third webinar in the Net Zero series focused on the role of energy users in participating in and realising automated and distributed energy futures. In this webinar, panel members Dr Declan Kuch (Western Sydney University & University of New South Wales), Dr Sophie Adams (University of New South Wales), A/ Prof Yolande Strengers (Monash University) and Mark Boulet (BehaviourWorks Australia) explored how automation and changes in distributed energy resources are enabling greater participation from energy users to engage with emerging energy futures, and how this may vary across different contexts and settings.

Mark shared the research he has conducted which provides behavioural insights and guidance to support the development of the Monash Microgrid. Declan and Sophie shared emerging insights from the 'Social License to Automate' collaboration project within the International Energy Agency's User-Centred Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Programme (co-led by Monash University and the University of New South Wales). Yolande shared outcomes from the Digital Energy Futures research project that the Emerging Technologies Research Lab is conducting on how households will live in the future with emerging digital and energy technologies. Scott Ferraro, Program Director, Net Zero Initiative at Monash University, hosted the event.

Watch the video

Meet the host

Scott Ferraro
Building and Property Division, Program Director of Monash University’s Net Zero Initiative

Scott is a leader in net zero-emission strategy development and implementation, with a deep understanding of the opportunities to reduce emissions across the energy, transport and buildings sectors. Currently, Scott and his team are focused on transitioning Monash’s Australian operations to net zero emissions by 2030. The program aims to find translatable solutions to enable the broader transition to net-zero emissions required under the Paris Agreement.

Meet the speakers

Sophie Adams

Dr Sophie Adams
Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales

Sophie is a human geographer and Science and Technology Studies scholar, and currently a Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Languages. Her research examines approaches to human adaptation to environmental change, investigating their origins in evolutionary theory and systems ecology as well as their contemporary politics in the context of anthropogenic climate change. She is currently also analysing the social dimensions of automation in an increasingly decentralised and renewables-based energy system, through an international research collaboration on the 'Social License to Automate' within the User-Centred Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Programme of the International Energy Agency.

Declan Kuch

Dr Declan Liam Kuch
Visiting Fellow in the School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales

Declan is a Visiting Fellow in the School of Humanities at UNSW. His research covers climate change, energy policy and the social dimensions of the life sciences. He jointly holds the position (together with Dr. Sophie Adams) of Operating Agent for Australia's involvement with the User-Centred Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Program under the International Energy Agency. He also co-leads (with Prof. Matthew Kearnes) the Social Dimensions stream of ARC Centre of Excellence in CBNS. His primary research involves the social, ethical and political dimensions of targeted therapies and precision medicine. He has also published widely on topics related to climate change policy and energy, including ‘The Rise and Fall of Carbon Emissions Trading’ (2015, Palgrave McMillan’s Energy and Environment Series edited by David Elliot). He has consulted to the Australian Council of Learned Academies on public engagement with technology.

Yolande Strengers

A/ Prof. Yolande Strengers
Associate Professor of Digital Technology and Society Emerging Technologies Research Lab, Monash University

Yolande is a digital sociologist who works with qualitative and digital ethnographic methods to understand how people (and sometimes their pets) are incorporating new devices and technologies into their everyday lives and homes. She is an Associate Professor Digital Technology and Society in the Emerging Technologies Research Lab at Monash University, where she leads the Energy Futures program. She is also an Associate Director (Consumers) of the Monash Energy Institute, and the Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Faculty of IT. Yolande’s research is broadly interested in the energy and gender effects of emerging smart home and distributed energy technologies. She is a Chief Investigator on the Digital Energy Futures project. The Digital Energy Futures ARC Linkage project is a partnership between the Australian Research Council, Monash University, AusNet Services, Ausgrid and Energy Consumers Australia Limited.

Mark Boulet

Mr Mark Boulet
Research Fellow, BehaviourWorks Australia

Mark completed his Masters of Environmental Science at Monash University and his undergraduate studies at the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University. In 2011, Mark was awarded an Australian Leadership Award by the prestigious Australian Davos Connection Forum. Mark’s research interests lie in the area of environmental sustainability, behaviour change and education. He has worked on a range of projects involving the identification and design of behavioural change interventions to tackle issues such as food waste, energy demand management, sustainable transport, stormwater pollution and wildlife management. Mark is currently working on food waste prevention programs in Victorian, NSW and WA and is a part-time PhD candidate studying the relationship between household food waste and behaviour. Mark formerly managed the multi-award-winning Green Steps sustainability training program at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. He is unit coordinator of the “Understanding human behaviour to influence change” unit within Monash’s Master of Environment and Sustainability.

Event contact
Nancy Van Nieuwenhove
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