The following Plenary speakers presented at the 2016 conference.

We will provide details of plenary speakers for the 2017 conference as they become available.

sc-grey-portrait-1Simon Corbell was Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change of the Australian Capital Territory from 2008-2016.   He has two decades of senior experience in public policy leadership and delivery.   He also most recently held the senior portfolios of Attorney General and Minister for Health. Simon’s advocacy for a strong climate change policy for Canberra has seen the ACT achieve national and international recognition as a best practice jurisdiction. Targeting a 40% reduction in the city’s greenhouse gas emission he successfully implemented programs to deliver 100% renewable energy for Canberra by 2020. This led to the development of 11 large scale wind and solar projects in the ACT, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.   He also led the establishment of the ACT’s next generation battery storage initiative which is supporting over 5000 battery storage sites across the national capital as well as a program to support large scale community owned solar. Simon is widely recognized as a leader in the areas of renewable energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, urban sustainability and public transport. In 2015 has was the recipient of the Banksia Foundation’s Gold Award for the ACT Solar Auction program, and has been recognized by the Clean Energy Council and the Climate Alliance for his work in championing the clean energy transition in Canberra and nationally.   He is also a Patron of the Australian Solar Council. Simon has also focused extensively on issues of urban sustainability, especially in the areas of public transport, green buildings and energy efficiency. From 20012-2016 he was responsible for the development, procurement and implementation of the Canberra Metro light rail project, which is now under construction. In 2016 he was appointed an Adjunct Professor of the University of Canberra in recognition of his work on climate change and sustainability.

Ian Cronshaw was a Division Head at the International Energy Agency between 2005 and 2011, with responsibility for analysing and reporting on developments in global gas, coal and power markets (including nuclear and renewables). Since 2011, Ian has worked as a consultant with the World Energy Outlook team in Paris on global coal, gas and power developments. He has also worked with the Federal Government in various projects on those same markets, and, at the ANU, co-authoring a book on the regulation of unconventional gas production. Prior to his time at the IEA, Ian worked in the Australian Federal Government almost exclusively on energy policy subjects, ranging from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, renewables targets, oil and gas security, and energy technology. Half of his 36 year career with the Australian Government was at senior management level. He also has an earlier stint at the IEA from 1984 to 1988, principally as the desk officer for the United States.

Jean JacquinotJean Jacquinot is a physicist, and has devoted his entire career to magnetic fusion. He has worked in JET for 18 years and became its director 1n 1999. A member of the ITER advisory committee as early as 1992, he led the CEA activities in fusion from the year 2000 to 2004 while taking part in the ITER international negotiations. Jean Jacquinot is presently a senior adviser to the ITER Director General, and a scientific adviser to the French commission for atomic energy.

Jeremy LeggettJeremy Leggett is a social entrepreneur and author of The Carbon War and Half Gone. He is founder and chairman of Solarcentury, an international solar solutions company, and founder and Chairman of SolarAid, an African solar lighting charity set up with five percent of Solarcentury’s annual profit’s. An Entrepreneur of the Year at the New Energy Awards, he has been described by the Observer as ‘Britain’s most respected green energy boss’. He was the first Hillary Laureate for International Leadership in Climate Change, a CNN Principal Voice, and winner of a Gothenburg Prize. He chairs the financial-sector think tank CarbonTracker and the solar generator company Firefly Solar. He writes and blogs on occasion for the Guardian and the Financial Times, and lectures on short courses in business and society at the universities of Cambridge and St Gallen. He will be presenting the Solar Oration on Tues 29 Nov “The Carbon War: a dispatch from the front lines”. See the abstract here.

Mark HowdenProf Mark Howden is Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University. His work has focussed on climate impacts and adaptation for systems we value: agriculture and food security, the natural resource base, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy, water and urban systems. He helped develop the national and international greenhouse gas inventories and has assessed sustainable ways to reduce emissions. Mark has partnered with many industry, community and policy groups via both research and science-policy roles and has over 400 publications. He has been a major contributor to the IPCC since 1991 now being a Vice Chair of IPCC Working Group 2. He will be presenting the Opening Plenary on Tues 29 Nov “Climate Change – an overview of the science and the politics”. See the abstract here.

Bob BurtonBob Burton is the Hobart-based Editor of CoalWire, a weekly bulletin on global coal industry developments. He has been researching and writing on energy and the mining industry for over thirty years and is a regular contributor to RenewEconomy and EndCoal websites. In 1992 he was entered on the United Nations Environment Program Global 500 Roll of Honour for an outstanding contribution to the protection of the environment. With Guy Pearse and David McKnight he co-authored Big Coal: Australia’s Dirtiest Habit (New South Books, 2013). His Twitter feed is here.

Nancy HaegelNancy M. Haegel is Center Director for the Materials Science Center in the Materials and Chemical Sciences Directorate at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). She leads an organization of ~ 90 staff, associates and post-doctoral and graduate students providing the fundamental and applied materials science discovery and problem-solving for current and next-generation renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. Haegel joined NREL in 2014, after ten years at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey California, where she was a Distinguished Professor in the Physics Department. She has also been a faculty member at UCLA and Fairfield University. Her research interests are in electronic materials and devices, with emphasis on characterization of carrier transport, high resistivity semiconductors and infrared imaging and detection. She will be presenting “Terawatt-Scale Photovoltaics : Trajectories and Challenges” on Thurs 1 Dec. See the abstract here.

Al WeimerProf Alan(Al) W. Weimer, H. T. Sears Memorial Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, joined the faculty of the University of Colorado in 1996 after a 16-year career with the Dow Chemical Company.  He was named recipient of the Dow Spangenberg Ceramics Founders Award in 1991, named Dow Central Research Inventor of the Year in 1993, and received Dow’s coveted “Excellence in Science Award” in 1995 for commercializing ultrahigh-temperature processing to produce advanced ceramic materials (from lab curiosity to the 1st commercial plant).  He is recipient of the 2005 DOE Hydrogen Program R&D Award for developing solar-thermal technology to split water, the 2009 AIChE Thomas Baron Award in Fluid-Particle Systems for his pioneering effort to functionalize fine particles with thin films, and the 2010 AIChE Excellence in Process Development Research Award for his persistence to commercialize his academic discoveries.   He recently received both the 2015 AIChE Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum and the 2015 Research Excellence in Sustainable Engineering Awards. His former students have co-founded two spin-off companies out of his university laboratory (ALD NanoSolutions ( in 2001 and Copernican Energy, now Sundrop Fuels (, in 2006).  Prof. Weimer is an inventor on 34 issued U.S. patents and an author of over 175 peer-reviewed publications. He has been involved in the research & development of solarthermal chemical processing since 1996 and is an Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University, College of Engineering and Computer Science. He will be presenting Solar Thermochemical Processing – The Path Forward. See the abstract here.

Klaus VajenKlaus Vajen holds a PhD in applied physics and is Director of the Institute of Thermal Energy Engineering at Kassel University (DE). His scientific work focuses mainly on experimental and numerical investigations of (solar) thermal energy components and systems, where he (co-)authored more than 300 scientific papers. He founded and coordinates the interdisciplinary master programme “Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency” at Kassel University as well as the European graduate school for PhD-students “Solar Thermal Network (SolNet)”. He was the chair of the Solar World Congress 2011 in Kassel. Last year, he received from ISES the prestigious “Achievement through Action” award. He will be presenting Solar Heating and Cooling – State of the Art, Recent Developments and Trends in Europe”. See the abstract here.

gus-nathanProfessor Gus Nathan is the founding Director of The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology and recipient of a Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council. He specialises in research supporting the development of innovative technology in concentrating solar thermal, combustion and gasification technologies, together with their hybrids. Gus is leader of Node 4 of the national Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative, which aims to lower the cost of solar fuels production, and project leader for an ARENA funded project to introduce concentrating solar thermal into the Bayer Alumina process in partnership with Alcoa and Hatch. He is an author of more than 10 patents, including three families of concentrating solar thermal technology, 50 commissioned reports, 150 international journal publications and 200 peer-review conferences. See the abstract here.

Lara OlsenLara Olsen is an experienced energy executive with a proven international track record in the financing and delivery of large-scale energy strategies and projects. Lara is currently Regional Manager- Business Development for Tesla Energy, responsible for developing and extending Tesla Energy’s residential and grid scale storage business in Australia, New Zealand and the neighboring regional markets. Prior to this, Lara was Head of Strategy at CitiPower Powercor and Head of Strategy at the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). She also spent more than 5 years founding and leading energy start-ups – including being the CEO of Cool nrg and co-founding Billcap, and energy software as a service company. Lara has an MBA from INSEAD, a B.Eng/Arts from Melbourne University and Tokyo Institute of Technology and is a John Monash Scholar.

oliver-hartleyDr Oliver Hartley has over 20 years of experience in solar energy. He is the Managing Director of Epho Pty Ltd, a company specialised in the development of turn-key solar solutions for businesses across Australia. Oliver has had a wide range of managerial roles across the industry from research, manufacturing, project management to sales and marketing. He has a PhD, which he carried out at the UNSW Photovoltaic Special Research Centre, Sydney. Oliver has over 40 scientific and industry journal publications and conference presentations, in recent years with a strong focus on improving quality within the Australian solar industry.

murielwattDr Muriel Watt joined IT Power Australia in 2008. Prior to this she was a Senior Lecturer, School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering, University of NSW, a role she retains on a part-time basis. She has worked in government energy agencies, private companies and the university on energy related matters since 1980, with a strong focus on renewable energy research, development, technologies, deployment and policies. She is the past Australian representative on the Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency Photovoltaics Power Systems Programme (PVPS), Chair of the Australian PV Association and member of the Australian Government Enterprise Connect Clean Technology Advisory Committee. Past appointments include Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society (2003) and Chair of the Policy Group for the Australian CRC for Renewable Energy (ACRE) (1999-2004).  Dr Watt has undertaken research work for the IEA PVPS since 1995 and has prepared Australia’s annual PV report since that time. She has also written or co-written reports for the IEA, ACRE, the Australian Greenhouse Office, the Australian Department of Education, Science and Training, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and others on renewable energy in Australia.

fionaDr Fiona McClure recently moved to EnergyAE from her previous role as R&D Manager, Solar Products at Rheem Australia, where she managed product development and manufacturing support of the solar water heater and PV product ranges for Rheem and Solahart, which combined have approximately 50% of the solar water heating market in Australia. Prior to that, Fiona managed the Thermal Solar Group at Vipac Engineers and Scientists, providing engineering consulting, numerical modelling and laboratory test services, particularly in the area of solar and heat pump water heaters. Fiona brings to the EnergyAE team a pragmatic approach to the realities of project management, appliance manufacturing and laboratory testing, balanced with extensive academic and numerical modelling skills that were honed during her PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

craig-woodCraig Wood has been the Chief Executive Officer of Vast Solar, an Australian CSP technology and development company, since 2015. Previously Craig was an Investment Director with Archer Capital for 9 years and CFO of Brownes, Western Australia’s largest dairy business and an Archer portfolio company, for a further 3 years. Prior to this, he was an Associate in Lehman Brothers’ New York Power and Utilities Group and he started his career as an engineer in the oil and gas industry. Craig holds BEng (Mechanical Hons) and BSc (IT) degrees from the University of Western Australia, a MA from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a MSc (Finance) from London Business School.

zhengrong-shiDr. Zhengrong Shi is the founder of Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., for many years the largest global solar photovoltaic (PV) panel manufacturer. Guided by a vision to power the world’s future by solar energy, nature’s cleanest and most abundant source of energy, Dr. Shi started Suntech in 2001. For over a decade, he led PV industry development and growth through innovation, manufacturing skills and supply chain development, reducing the cost of PV panels drastically and accelerating the realization of an affordable price of electricity generated by solar energy. As a leading solar scientist, Dr. Shi is the inventor of 23 patents in photovoltaic technologies, and has published and/or presented more than 90 articles and papers in PV-related scientific magazines and at conferences. With a career spanning more than close to three decades as a solar scientist and entrepreneur he had been Deputy Research Director at Pacific Solar Pty., and a Senior Research Scientist and the leader of the Thin Film Solar Cells Research Group in the Centre of Excellence for Photovoltaic Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Australia.  Dr. Shi received the Murphy & Spitz Global Leader Award 2011 at the World Economic Forum for Suntech’s exemplary environmental and sustainability standards. In 2009, he was on Business Week’s “China’s Most Powerful People” list. In 2007, Dr. Shi was named “50 people who could save the planet” by The Guardian, and was named by TIME as a Hero of the Environment, an annual list that celebrates the most innovative and influential protectors of the planet.  In 2006, he was awarded the “Annual Economic Figure” by CCTV. In 2007, he was honored as the “Green Figure of the Year” by CCTV. Dr. Shi received a bachelor’s degree in optical science from Changchun University of Science and Technology in China in 1983, a master’s degree in laser physics from the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1986, and a PhD degree in electrical engineering from the University of New South Wales in Australia in 1992.  In 2009, Dr. Shi is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (AATSE) and in 2012 became an Adjunct Professor at the University of NSW.