Official Launch of the ARC Training Centre in Energy Technologies for Future Grids

04 December 2023



Good morning, everyone.

I too would like to acknowledge the Dharawal people as traditional custodians of the land that we are meeting on, and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging – thank you Dr Aunty Joyce Donovan.

And I also would like to acknowledge other distinguished guests here today.
• Professor Patricia M. Davidson, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Wollongong;
• Professor David Currow, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Sustainable Futures), University of Wollongong;
• Senior Professor Kashem Muttaqi, Director, ARC Training Centre for Energy Technologies for Future Grids;
• Senior Professor Gursel Alici, Executive Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong;
• Professor Andy Knight, President IEEE Industry Applications Society;
• Professor Steven Weller, Executive Director, Australian Research Council]

For those of you from overseas welcome to Wollongong and the Illawarra. Prof Knight – I do hope that our weather is slightly more appealing than an Alberta winter.

In Wollongong we call ourselves a City of Innovation, one that uses the world’s best science together with industry collaboration to overcome the challenges we face.

A city of steel, energy and manufacturing harmoniously coexisting with stunning ecology, tourism and the marine environment.

I am a regular visitor here to the University of Wollongong and most recently for the launch of the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Composites for the Future of Sustainable Mining Equipment, and it is a pleasure to be back today to recognise another terrific Training Centre - the ARC Training Centre in Energy Technologies for Future Grids.

The University of Wollongong’s contribution to research continues to grow both nationally and internationally, as you deliver research that translates new discoveries into social, economic, and environmental outcomes that have global impacts.

The University of Wollongong has been awarded more than $74 million in ARC funding in the last five years, with close to $20 million just this year alone.

This represents your excellence in research over your 40 years since becoming an independent institution in 1975. And becoming a proud anchor institution of our region.

I also note that the University of Wollongong is among the top 1% of universities worldwide, 14th among the world’s best modern universities, and in the top 150 in the world for graduate employment rates.

And today we add to your success in celebrating the launch of the ARC Training Centre for Future Grids which has been funded through the ARC’s highly competitive research grants process for world leading excellent research.
The Future Grids Training Centre is only one of 8 to be funded in 2021 as part of the Government’s $32.7 million investment through the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Training Centre Scheme.
The Future Grids Training Centre was awarded $5 million over 5 years which will generate strong national and international collaboration. The Training Centre will be supported by an additional $3.5 million in cash contributions and $12 million in in-kind contributions from 6 universities including the University of Wollongong and 15 industry partners.

This collaboration will facilitate connection and research amongst leading experts, researchers, and institutions, and share their groundbreaking findings with a national and global audience.

The Future Grids Training Centre will also train a new generation of experts to lead the transition to sustainable, reliable, secure, and cost-effective electricity systems.
I am pleased to note that the Future Grids Training Centre has already reached an outstanding achievement in hosting the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Energy Technologies for Future Grids, which commenced yesterday.

With the theme Challenges, Solutions and Opportunities for Industrial Transformation, the Conference brings together power engineering professionals and researchers to exchange up-to-date knowledge and views on emerging trends in the modernisation of the electrical power and energy sectors, as well as discussing the need for reduced carbon emissions. This is no small feat – congratulations.
The work of the Future Grids Training Centre will address the significant and immediate industry challenge – the transition from traditional, fossil-fuel-driven power grids to modern, renewable energy-based grids.

And it will produce a workforce that is equipped with the interdisciplinary skills needed to navigate a rapidly changing electricity industry, promoting collaboration among key stakeholders and ensuring efficient grid integration of renewables, including emerging technologies like renewable hydrogen.

I can see the centre working with local firms like Hysata and the new UoW Energy Futures Skills Centre secured for our region at the last election.

The research outcomes of the Future Grids Training Centre have the potential to catalyse growth, productivity, and competitiveness in Australia’s electricity sector.

The Centre’s interdisciplinary research approach to grid integration, clean energy management, resiliency, and system strength will enhance the efficiency and reliability of the nation’s electricity sector.

This will benefit not only the industry itself, but all Australian businesses and households that rely on affordable, secure, and sustainable electricity.

The Future Grids Training Centre will empower Australians to embrace a clean energy future, reducing emissions and improving the quality of life for everyone.

The Training Centre is well-positioned to attract students and researchers who are passionate about making a positive difference in Australia’s electricity sector.

I am pleased to note that this new Training Centre is expected to attract 22 Students, 58 Researchers, 5 Research Fellows, and 2 Research Assistants.
Congratulations to Professor Muttaqi and his team. I look forward to your watching your progress as you go forward with your work. With that, it is my pleasure to officially launch the ARC Training Centre in Energy Technologies for Future Grids.

Thank you.