MEInetwork21 Energy Systems Seminar Series

Powerlines in pink sunrise

Online, Zoom

Seminar 1 - System overview, customers and demand

Electricity systems were traditionally designed around the linear flow of electricity from generators, via the transmission and distribution networks, to end consumers. Historically owned and operated as vertically integrated utilities, various reforms were implemented in the 1990s which culminated in the introduction of the National Electricity Market (NEM) in 1998. In broad terms, the NEM’s design involves:

  • a wholesale market, where generators compete for the provision of electricity to retailers and large electricity users every five minutes via a spot market administered by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)
  • a retail market, where retailers resell the electricity purchased in the wholesale market to their customers - businesses and households
  • a contract markets, where generators, retailers and large energy users manage the risks of participating in the spot wholesale market
  • the economic regulation of monopoly networks businesses, which cannot rely on competitive forces to promote the efficient delivery of their services.

However with the global emergence of new technologies, particularly distributed energy resources, the modern Australian electricity system is less linear and more dynamic, and in terms of the market, the lines between generators, retailers and customers are less clearly defined.

Tom Walker, Senior Economist at the Australian Energy Market Commission, will give an overview of the end-to-end design of the National Electricity Market, the role of the AEMC and the other market institutions, and the impact of emerging technologies on the market’s design.

The Seminar Series is part of MEInetwork21, a skills and education program developed by the Melbourne Energy Institute. Attendance is open to all, however should the event reach capacity, preference will be given to employees of MEInetwork21 partner organisations and University of Melbourne staff and students. Please note that staff and students must register with their unimelb email address.


Tom Walker, Senior Economist, Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC)

Tom is a Senior Economist at the Australian Energy Market Commission – the rule maker for Australia’s electricity and gas markets. He provides micro-economic analysis about changes to the rules to enhance economic efficiency and the long term interest of consumers. Tom has a deep understanding of energy market design across a broad range of topics, including contemporary, first-hand knowledge of the current debates surrounding energy market re-design in Australia.

Before his time at the Commission he was an economic consultant advising clients in infrastructure sectors in both the UK and Australia.

He holds an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a Masters degree in public policy.


Terry Jones, Enterprise Fellow, Energy, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Project Manager,  Melbourne Energy Institute, The University of Melbourne

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