Spotlight on a Student: PhD Candidate Glen Currie

Customer roles in the future energy system


Glen Currie is a PhD candidate working on social-technical planning of the future energy system.

He is an Agricultural Engineer with a Masters degree in Business Administration. His PhD study is in Electrical Engineering and he is a Lecturer in Project Management Practices in Infrastructure Engineering.

What is your research about?

Electricity systems are complicated and are becoming more complicated as they accommodate social demands, political demands, and consumer demands. The aim of my research is to increase our understanding of consumer roles in the future electricity system to help balance these technical, social, political and consumer demands. Solutions for technical problems in the electricity system are only going to be solved with the participation of the consumer and this consumer engagement is complex. One focus of my research is how policy could best influence the development of consumer roles in the electricity system.

The first research phase was to analyse Australian household solar photovoltaics (PV) uptake data. This analysis developed a model of Australian PV through a statistical analysis of the 1.6 million PV installations in Australia between 2001 and 2016 and includes temporal ARIMA modelling.

The second research phase has been via interviews of energy leaders in Australia and Europe. These interviews led to the development of a framework for consumer roles in the future energy system. Interviewees included energy experts, politicians, business leaders, and consumer advocates. Quantative and qualitative analysis showed a low level of confidence in Australian energy policy but a high confidence in business solutions.

Who are your supervisors?

I have three extraordinary supervisors. They are Prof. Colin Duffield (Infrastructure Engineering), Prof. Robin Evans (Electrical Engineering) and Prof. Iven Mareels (IBM Research).

Prof. Duffield’s experience researching national infrastructure policy (including two terms on the Board of Infrastructure Australia) has been invaluable in applying the research into policy. Prof. Evans and Prof. Mareels research in energy systems and extraordinary modelling skills have overseen the model development and the strategic relevance of my research.

What do you want to do next?

I have submitted my thesis and aim to apply my skills and knowledge in a government, business or academic role that includes designing and leading the energy transition.


Awarded the Sir Louis Matheson Prize, 2018. This prize is awarded annually to the best student enrolled in a graduate research degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

Glen and his supervisors welcome enquiries about our research. You can email him at Prof. Duffield at , Prof. Evans at and Prof. Mareels at

More Information

Ruby Brown

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