Thursday, 30 November 2017

The end of the road... My PhD is OVER!

This is my final web post... my PhD career is now complete, having got a job and moved out of academia.  After four months of job hunting I was lucky enough to secure a position at Western Power, a network operator utility in Western Australia

I thoroughly enjoyed my PhD process, teaching and getting a better understanding of how the higher education system works.  But I'm also really looking forward to getting back into the energy industry and getting my hands dirty with some policy implementation work.  You can find out what I'm up to via my LinkedIn page.

Thanks for stopping by folks!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

EXPERIENCE: Publishing in the Thesis Whisperer

I recently had the honour of being published on the Thesis Whisperer blog.  Most people in society can get through their entire lives being blissfully unaware of the Thesis Whisperer blog, but for Australian PhD candidates the Thesis Whisperer is a way of life.  Part mental health advice column, part PhD survival skills, part PhD community building, Thesis Whisperer helps make the PhD possible

ANU's Inger Mewburn is the creator of Thesis Whisperer and works in the wonderful world of research research - researching the academy and PhD experience.  I approached her with a few blog ideas a year ago and she very kindly published one of my posts.  It had a pretty excellent viewer rating of over 3,500 views, not including the 35,000 strong mailing list the posts are sent to weekly.  You can see my blog post here.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

EXPERIENCE: Guest on a Podcast

After spending my whole PhD trying to get some media interest it is at the very end that I have had some success - this week I had the very enjoyable experience of appearing on the Beyond Zero Emissions podcast with Anthony Daniele and Matt Grantham. 

During our chat we talked about my research relating to the potential for network operators to 'push back' on increasing penetrations of small-scale solar, covered in my article for RenewEconomy; the potential 'brain drain' of renewable energy experts from energy utilities; and how to try to influence government policy.  I think I made things a little difficult for the interviewers - definitely speaking for more than 2-3 minutes per question! - but would love to do more interviews in the future.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

PUBLICATION: Local Environment Paper

The final paper from my PhD has been published, exactly one year after I submitted my thesis.  There is something poetic about all my PhD 'lasts' happening in October (fieldwork, thesis, final paper etc)!

This final paper, published in the journal Local Environment, looked in detail at my two regional case studies and the influence that 'champions' within a community can have on the adoption of solar PV systems.  I found that a 'champion' embedded in the community with a good knowledge of solar and incentive policies can dramatically increase the adoption of solar, however champions can also create issues where they don't take advantage of local expertise and trusted renewable energy suppliers.

You can find my 'Looking beyond incentives: the role of champions in the social acceptance of residential solar energy in regional Australian communities' paper here, with the first 50 copies available for free from here.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

PUBLICATION: Energy Policy Audioslides (again)

I have now worked my way through academic publisher Elsevier's fairly painful audioslide application to create a short annotated slideshow of the key themes of my recently published Energy Policy article "Network operators and the transition to decentralised electricity: An Australian socio-technical case study".

If you would like to see a free, five minute summary of my paper, take a look here:

To view the complete paper, head here.

EXPERIENCE: RenewEconomy article

It's always been a goal of mine to try to get some media interest in my research.  I've now unsuccessfully tried publishing in The Conversation three times, however today I've had great success with publishing a post in RenewEconomy.

RenewEconomy is the number one source for renewable energy news in Australia, and it turns out there are quite a lot of industry people reading it - as I know from the friends and colleagues who have been in touch today to let me know they enjoyed my post!

The article talks about my latest research article, which looked at network operators and why they might 'push back' on additional distributed generation, like solar energy.  One of the best aspects of publishing is seeing how people respond to the article, with people in the energy community agreeing to the research findings and wondering how we should overcome political influence restricting renewable energy adoption in the energy industry.

Friday, 8 September 2017

PUBLICATION: Network operators and the transition to decentralised electricity

The second last paper to be published as part of my PhD looks at network operators and their potential reasons for 'pushing back' on increased penetration of distributed generation.  There are four reasons network operators appear to 'push back' on renewable energy, like solar: it creates technical issues for the network; it reduces the income for network operators; they lack strategic capabilities to make decisions for the future; and because of a risk averse engineering culture.  My research did find that individuals can make a difference - particularly those interested in supporting renewable energy from within the organisation, and Ministers with the capability to direct network operators to allow additional distributed generation.

My paper is available from Energy Policy, with a free, author's version available until October 20.