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Foresighting Forum 2021

Our annual forum brings together the whole energy sector to work collaboratively on key issues affecting the long term interests of consumers.


Energy Consumers Australia

Foresighting Forum 2021: Framing the future by learning from the shocks of 2020

Bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic, the shocks of 2020-21 can in many ways be viewed as a microcosm of the energy transition – a time when old rules, ideas and practices were suddenly revealed as no longer stable or sufficient and Australians had to adjust their ideas of what was possible, what their needs and priorities were and how they live and work. There are important lessons to be learned from these events, how decision makers in the energy system responded to them and the subsequent adaptation of consumers and the system itself during what has been a convulsive and challenging 18 months. How might we use what we have collectively experienced to deliver a future in which consumer needs, expectations and values are central to decision making, energy is cleaner and more affordable and system security and reliability are delivered?

Our webinar series will examine these questions, applying this framing across three key aspects of a system that is itself undergoing rapid and convulsive transformation.

Social Practice and Consumer Behaviour

Date: July 1, 2021

Time: 10.30am-12.00pm

Panelists: Dr Helen Rogers, (Director, Household Surveys, Australian Bureau of Statistics) Prof Yolande Strengers, Dr Larissa Nicholls and Dr Kari Dahlgren (Digital Energy Futures, Monash University’s Emerging Technologies Research Lab)

Our first webinar featured invaluable insights into the changing needs and expectations of energy consumers as we explored how Australians are behaving and are likely to behave in the future. Our panellists discuss the consumer practices and behaviours that surprised them during their research, and gave their thoughts and input into how well we are catering for these needs and expectations in our energy system. 

It’s clear that there is serious room for improvement and much incentive to get better at understanding consumer behaviour and social practices. So where to now? What might we work towards? 


System Resilience

Date: August 12, 2021

Time: 10.30am-12.00pm

Panelists: Nicola Hepenstall (The Insights Center), Luke Jenner (Essential Energy), Thomas Hallam (AusNet Services)

Our second webinar saw Nicola Hepenstall, Lead Researcher on the East Gippsland Community Listening Project presenting her research into community attitudes and sentiment towards energy use after the bushfires of 2019/20. Following this, representatives from networks AusNet Services and Essential Energy spoke about their experiences planning for and responding to crisis events in communities they service.

This was the basis for a lively and engaging discussion on how we might learn from previous crisis events to better service such areas in the future, helping communities recover and thrive after catastrophic events, moving them from a focus on dependency and rescue to one on resilience and empowerment.


System Design

Date: September 7, 2021

Time: 10.30am-12.00pm

Panelists: Andrew Nance (Chair ISP Consumer Panel), Mark Byrne (Total Environment Centre), Brian Spak, (Energy Consumers Australia)

Our final webinar explored how we, as collaborative and future-focused system leaders, can position ourselves to envision and co-create the whole-of-system change consumers want and need. Finding new ways to imagine the system could produce significant rewards, allowing us to move from relying on investment in long-lived generation, network and storage assets to a future system where we unlock flexibility at scale by rewarding when and how consumers use, generate and store energy at a local level.

Our panellists spoke about the need to continuously improve the accuracy of our forecasting to predict how and when consumers will use energy into the future and plan accordingly. People and communities are already making decisions about their energy use and generation, but what technical changes do we need to make to ensure consumers are supported and protected when playing an active part in the future grid?


Foresighting Forum 2021: System Design

Foresighting Forum 2021: System Resilience

Foresighting Forum 2021: Social Practice and Consumer Behaviour

Join us on the journey

The aim of our webinar series was to embark on a journey, starting conversations and driving action to showcase the many benefits of ensuring the energy system we are transitioning to is consumer-centric. As we wrap on our last webinar we are already looking forward to Foresighting Forum in February 2022, where we will examine the “End State”; what will the energy future actually look like in the year 2040, and the pathways to working backwards from there to achieve the affordable, abundant and clean energy future consumers tell us they expect.

Foresighting Forum 2022

Format TBC

Previous Foresighting Forum resource pages

Foresighting Forum 2020
Foresighting Forum 2019
Foresighting Forum 2018
Foresighting Forum 2017
Foresighting Forum 2016

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