Plenary Speakers


APSRC 2019 includes the following Plenary speakers. 

Daniel Mugnier has professional experience in engineering solar thermal systems for large DHW applications and above all solar heating and cooling systems. Managing the innovation department of TECSOL – one of the French leading solar engineering companies – Daniel Mugnier is involved as well in numerous R&D projects on solar thermal at the national, European and international level. He is also author of several publications and presentations at international conferences on solar energy. He is currently Chairman of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme as well as French delegate to IEA PVPS Task 1 and French participant to IEA PVPS Task 17 (on solar mobility).

Kirsty Gowens is General Manager, Project Delivery at ARENA, and is a highly experienced commercial lawyer and corporate governance professional who joined ARENA in 2016. Prior to commencing work with ARENA, Kirsty was General Counsel for Indigenous Business Australia. In that role h provided advice on commercial maters and administrative law matters, including co-investment and incentive structures, company law, contracts and finance arrangements. She also played a key role in supporting the governance functions of the Board and overseeing IBA’S governance, compliance and legal risk management framework. A committed development specialist, Kirsty’s previous experience includes working with the Northern Land Council, NSW Native Title Service, North Australian Aboriginal Legal Service and NSW Legal Aid Commission. She has also worked as an investigator with the NSW Ombudsman and a mediator of complaints for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.In addition to her legal qualifications, Kirsty has postgraduate qualifications in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Law Society of the ACT. She recently completed her Masters in Public and International Law at the University of Melbourne.

Vasilis Fthenakis develops methodologies, predictive models, and control technologies for resolving problems at the interface of energy and the environment. Recent investigations include variable renewable energy systems integration and life cycle sustainability analysis. His pioneering work on environmental impact and resource availability of photovoltaic (PV) technologies has helped resolve concerns for rapid growth commercialization. Fthenakis joined Columbia in 2006, in a joint appointment with Brookhaven National Laboratory, and founded the Center for Life Cycle Analysis (CLCA), with the objective to guide technology and energy policy decisions with holistic and well balanced descriptions of the sustainability profiles of energy systems. His research on the life-cycles of renewable, nuclear, and coal technologies has been a crucial contribution to today’s key debates about energy and climate change and has put several energy technologies on a comparable basis with solar.  He created an International Energy Agency Task on PV Sustainability that brought together LCA analysts from fourteen countries and produced a number of consensus documents guiding credible LCA studies worldwide. Recently he co-founded the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance (GCWDA) and was elected in its Board of Directors. The GCWDA was launched during the COP21 Paris and was also represented in COP22 Marrakesh. The CLCA team is currently leading GCWDA efforts to integrate PV with desalination making it both clean and affordable. Fthenakis has a BS in Chemistry from the National University of Athens, a MS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University, and a PhD in Fluid Dynamics and Atmospheric Science from New York University. He is the author of three books and 400 scientific articles and reports. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Progress in PhotovoltaicsEnergy Technology, and the Journal of Loss Prevention.  Early in his career he served as a safety and environmental consultant for major oil and chemical companies and as an expert on investigating major chemical accidents in the U.S.

Dr Lachlan Blackhall is Entrepreneurial Fellow and Head, Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at The Australian National University. Previously, Dr Blackhall led the development of capabilities to monitor, optimise and control residential solar generation and battery storage, as well as the development of virtual power plant technology to aggregate energy storage to deliver services to energy networks, markets and utilities. Dr Blackhall holds a BE, BSc and a PhD in engineering and applied mathematics, is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a Fellow of both the Institution of Engineers Australia (IEAust) and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).