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The Zema Energy Studies Scholarship has been awarded to two recipients by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and Monash University.

Saeede Nazari Goldar and Harriet Mason were awarded the scholarship. 

The Scholarship honours the memory of AEMO’s founding Chief Executive Officer (CEO), energy reform leader, and Monash alumnus Matt Zema. It aims to develop Australia’s future energy leaders through a world-class PhD program that will deepen their expertise and unlock their full leadership potential.

AEMO CEO, Daniel Westerman, said, “AEMO is proud to recognise the legacy of Matt Zema and support the next generation of energy leaders through the scholarship with Monash University, including Saeede and Harriet.”

In addition to the annual stipend of $35,000 throughout their PhD candidature, the scholarship will help them gain exposure to Australia’s energy industry, and access supporting networking opportunities and specialist knowledge that will lay the foundation for their research and development.

Professor Margaret Gardner, President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University, said,”Monash is committed to making a positive impact by tackling the global challenges of our age for the betterment of the community. 

“Partnering with AEMO enables us to build a pipeline of future energy leaders ready to support this.”

Professor Ariel Liebman, Director of Monash Energy Institute, said,“We are very honoured and excited to be able to continue to offer these ground-breaking scholarships in partnership with AEMO. 

“With Australia leading the world in integration of renewable energy technologies and our unique continental scale grid, this partnership enhances Australia’s ability to develop home grown solutions to problems the rest of the world is yet to face.”

Ms Goldar, from the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Information Technology, will investigate enhanced generation, energy storage and transmission expansion planning.

“Because weather doesn’t always work quite the way we want to, it requires us to start thinking about storage as a critical element of the power system to firm those resources. Both battery and hydro storage will be very critical for future power systems,” Ms Goldar said.

“We will focus on proposing a methodology to develop an optimum generation, storage, and transmission plan for future electricity systems with high penetration of renewables ensuring the security and stability of the entire system.”

Ms Mason, from the Faculty of Business and Economics, and Faculty of Information Technology, will focus on visual representations of spatiotemporal uncertainty in monitoring Australia’s energy needs.

“Communicating uncertainty clearly and accurately to enable decision making is a well-known challenge in the data visualisation community,” Ms Mason said.

“This project would aim to incorporate user-centred design approaches, including observational studies, interviews and user studies, to ensure prototype designs are tailored to AEMO’s operations and specifically at times of critical stress.”

Ms Mason’s research aims to tackle the problem of communicating forecast uncertainty of the systems operations related to energy.

To date, two PhD students specialising in research on Australia’s energy markets have received the award, Lakshan Bernard and Vincent Makota.

Mr Bernard’s doctoral project will combine electrical engineering with advanced analytical and forecasting tools to solve significant challenges in future power networks and integrating renewable energy resources. 

Mr Makota’s research will investigate how emerging technologies such as grid-forming inverters can be used to reliably integrate more renewable resources with minimal impact into our transmission network, and be part of the solution for a more stable grid.

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