A Year in Energy


Having spent a year in the energy industry I started to reflect on what I’ve learnt – in no particular order here are some of my musings.

  1. There are many people who claim expertise in the energy field. A lot of them do have expertise, but it’s usually confined to the area they are involved in and usually an area that they have a vested interest in.
  2. It’s a small industry, especially in Perth. As with mining or any other industry, everyone knows each other one way or another and as a wise person said to me the other day, ‘it’s no good burning bridges’.
  3. Vanadium batteries – I have learnt a lot about what vanadium flow batteries are, what they can do and the scenarios they fit both for performance and financially. Of course that is our company’s area of expertise so it’s what I’ve learnt most about.
  4. There are a lot of analyses and reports being compiled – refer to point one. Most of which are not technology ambivalent.
  5. There are so many acronymns! SWIS, NEM, RE, PV, DOD, LCOE to name a few.
  6. The difference between power and storage confuses a lot of people. Requiring MW or MWh is a very different thing.
  7. Not all energy storage has a 1:1 power to energy ratio, but a lot of people think it does.
  8. Every day there is a new battery which is ‘the answer’, (usually it isn’t, but the media like them).
  9. People seem very focussed on building the biggest of everything – solar farm, wind turbine, battery.
  10. The future is bright for renewable energy, (or RE if you look to point 5) and being in this industry has made me feel very positive. There are many naysayers, (probably invested in coal etc), but the positive for those who want RE is that it’s commercially viable – money talks. There are a lot of people working hard to make it happen.
  11. If I had Elon Musk’s budget…