Our energy system is undergoing a massive transformation as we decarbonise our grid and Australians shift the way that we use energy. The next steps are not always straight forward and the pace of change can be relentless.
This means it’s vital we have conversations about the type of energy future we want, so that the future system meets the values, needs, and expectations of all Australians.
That’s why we decided to launch a podcast to discuss some of the biggest issues in energy. Whether you’re an industry veteran, or simply keen to learn more about our energy system, Watts Next? is for you. You’ll meet some of the leading experts in the energy sector as we unpack some of energy’s wicked problems and discuss what needs to happen to create the energy future that we want and need.
Join us to explore the energy transition through the lens of people who are driving change, pushing boundaries, and navigating the next frontiers.
You can find Watts Next? on Spotify, Apple Music, or your favourite podcast app. Follow us so you never miss an episode.
Moving to electric – accelerating EV adoption in Australia
It’s no secret that electric cars are starting to appear more frequently on our roads. The move to electric vehicles comes with a lot of challenges, both for our energy network, and the consumers that use them. So how can we accelerate the rollout of EVs, and will our policy makers be able to keep up?
In this episode, Energy Consumers Australia’s Ashley Bradshaw speaks with Ross De Rango, Head of Energy and Infrastructure at the Electric Vehicle Council. The Electric Vehicle Council is an industry group that consults with automakers, and key decision makers to provide advice on the transition to EVs. So how are we shaping up as a nation when it comes to the rollout, and where might we need to improve?
This episode also features an update from the Energy Consumers Australia’s Grants Program, where Alexandra Bishop talks with Dr Gill Armstrong from Climateworks about what they’ve learnt about the quality of Australia’s housing stock, and how to improve the energy efficiency of our homes.
The modern ombudsman – building trust and social licence
When a customer has an issue with their energy provider, one of the places they can turn is to the Energy and Water Ombudsman. It can be a difficult role that can help keep the whole industry in check, but how does the role of an ombudsman need to evolve as our energy system rapidly changes?
In this episode, Energy Consumers Australia’s Melissa McAuliffe speaks with Catherine Wolthuizen – Energy and Water Ombudsman for Victoria. Melissa and Catherine explore the concept of the ‘modern ombudsman’, and how their role can evolve in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis and significant technological change. The conversation contains the most recent research and insights from EWOV about the biggest challenges consumers are facing, and how retailers can play a role in alleviating these pressures.
This episode also features an update from the Energy Consumers Australia’s Grants Program, which covers the priority issues that need the most attention in the energy market to help guide applicants on the projects we’re most open to funding.
Let’s Go Retro – 8 million reasons to get serious about energy efficiency
The design of our built environment is one of the key opportunities for Australia to improve our sustainability as we move towards net zero. Not only within our homes, but also our offices, retail stores, warehouses, and of course government buildings. So how do we make sure all our buildings are on the same path to a renewable energy future? In this enlightening episode, Davina Rooney, CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia, sits down for a thought-provoking interview with Kerry Connors, Director of Energy Inclusion at Energy Consumers Australia.
Davina and Kerry explore why Australia’s 8 million energy inefficient homes are impacting Australian’s health and finances, and how to approach the task of retro-fitting these homes to make them more comfortable and healthier places to live.
This episode also features an update from Energy Consumers Australia’s Grants Program, and uncovers the findings from Better Renting’s ‘Renter Researchers’ project which tracks temperatures in rental homes.
Home Alone – helping consumers get the advice they need
In this episode, Alan Pears from RMIT University is interviewed by Energy Consumers Australia’s Caroline Valente, Senior Policy Associate from our Energy System Transition team.
One of the most important, yet often overlooked, things we can do to transform our energy network, is to improve the efficiency of our homes. Whether it’s changing the appliances we use, or the way we build and insulate our houses, improvements to our home environment can dramatically change the impact each of us has on the grid. But where should we even start?
In the 1980s Alan Pears created and led programs that went into consumers’ homes to offer tailored energy efficiency audits and advice. Why have we forgotten the value of these kinds of programs and how can we get them back? Alan and Caroline explore these issues and more throughout the conversation.
This episode also features a Grants Update on a project that seeks to better understand the needs of Queensland farmers to help design electricity tariffs that better suit their operations.
Beyond gas – exploring the transition to electric solutions
In this episode, Tony Wood from the Grattan Institute is interviewed by Energy Consumers Australia’s Director Energy System Transition Brian Spak.
As we move towards a carbon neutral economy, a very real conversation is taking place that affects most homeowners in Australia. What do we do about gas? 5 million Australian homes are connected to gas, whether it’s for heating, cooking or both. We rely on it, but if we want to reduce our carbon footprint, something needs to change.
Tony and Brian discuss the gas transition and electric alternatives as the Grattan Institute communicates the findings of their recently released ‘Getting off gas’ report.
This episode also features a Grants Update on a project that is upskilling migrants in Australia to better understand their energy bills, technology and their role in the energy transition.
Consumers of the future – keeping connected
In this special episode, Energy Consumers Australia’s outgoing CEO Lynne Gallagher is interviewed by Jacqueline Crawshaw.
Lynne’s contribution to Energy Consumers Australia has spanned eight years, including three as CEO. During that time the Australian energy system has evolved significantly as we make the transition to more renewables across large-scale generation, households and small businesses.
The conversation tracks how a focus on consumer research has enabled new evidence-based insights for the sector, and also delves into the latest consumer trends and attitudes as they navigate the transition.
This episode also features a special tribute from the Energy Consumers Australia Board and staff honouring Lynne’s contribution to Energy Consumers Australia.
The Power of One (Story) – making life easier for people in hardship situations
Energy Consumers Australia’s Director Energy Inclusion Kerry Connors interviews Ciara Sterling, CEO of Thriving Communities Partnership.
Thriving Communities Partnership recently won a Good Design Award for its One Stop Story Hub, an initiative that aims to dramatically improve the experience of people in hardship situations.
Under this pilot project, consumers only need to tell their story once to access assistance. Information could be shared by utilities, power and gas companies, Telstra, banks and more. How did this project come about? What has it uncovered that can help provide better experiences for consumers in the future and where to from here?
This episode also features an update about the Energy Consumers Australia Grants Program and things you might need to consider before making an application.
Charging ahead – avoiding planning through the rear-view mirror
Energy Consumers Australia’s Director Energy System Transition Brian Spak interviews Paul De Martini from Newport Consulting in the United States. Paul is an expert in energy infrastructure planning and shares his deep knowledge on how to navigate the various technological and regulatory challenges as we build the energy system of the future.
Brian and Paul discuss the path forward on building electric vehicle infrastructure, and how the mismatch in regulatory and innovation cycles may create barriers to progress.
This episode also features an update from the Energy Consumers Australia Grants Program about research the University of Queensland are doing to better understand electric vehicle charging behaviour of consumers.
Dealing with uncertainty – navigating energy transitions
Energy Consumers Australia’s Director Policy, Energy Services and Markets, Jacqueline Crawshaw interviews Matt Finch, an Associate Fellow from the Saïd Business School at Oxford University and Strategy Consultant at MechanicalDolphin.com.
Matt shares his insights and strategies for making informed decisions in the face of uncertainty, and how to ensure that resources are allocated effectively to create a people-powered energy transition that benefits everyone.
This episode also features an update from the Energy Consumers Australia Grants Program about work the Australian National University are doing to better understand how consumers will use new energy tech in their homes.
Powering Innovation: Unlocking Energy Services of the Future
Energy Consumers Australia CEO Lynne Gallagher speaks with Paul Jordan from Energy Systems Catapult about their role in promoting innovation and accelerating the energy transition in the United Kingdom, and what lessons Australia might learn.
This episode also features an update from the Energy Consumers Australia Grants program about the work Better Renting are doing to increase energy efficiency standards of rental homes.
Watts Next? launches on 19 April. Follow us now to stay up to date.