As part of the wider Clean Energy Council team, our Policy leaders are made up of dedicated Directors and Managers who bring a diverse skillset to advocate for a future powered by clean energy. One of those contributing to the change we strive for is Christiaan Zuur, Director Energy Transformation.
As Christiaan continues to focus on key areas to progress decarbonising the grid, we asked him a few questions about his pathway into renewables and the importance of his team’s work at the CEC.
What was your journey into working in the clean energy sector, and ultimately, the CEC?
I spent the last 14 years working at the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), which is the regulatory body responsible for making the rules for the energy market and power system. Over the time, it became apparent to me that the most important work to be done over the next few decades is decarbonisation of the power system. This is a massive reimagining of the industrial processes that underpin our whole economy, and I wanted to be at the (not) coal face! So, I made the shift to the Clean Energy Council (CEC) in mid-2021, because it’s the best place to do the most important work: Speeding up the transition of our power system to one dominated by wind, solar and storage.
What key role do you and your your team play in the work of the CEC?
Our work involves achieving better outcomes for large-scale renewable generation and storage, by driving the technical and market reforms needed for a safe and low-cost decarbonisation of the power system. We are deeply involved with the work of Energy Services Board (ESB) and the market bodies (AEMC, Australian Energy Market Operator and Australian Energy Regulator), and are increasingly working with the state governments as they become the key drivers of National Electricity Market (NEM) decarbonisation. We work very closely with our colleagues in other parts of the CEC, particularly those focused on small-scale renewable generation and storage, workforce planning, reform and planning, as well as social license issues.
Why should businesses and consumers feel empowered and excited about contributing to a future powered by renewable energy?
Renewable generation and storage is now the most affordable way to generate electricity. Investors have well and truly turned their attention to the strong earning potential of renewable energy, while consumers are already enjoying the reductions in energy costs that flow from this investment in clean, low cost generation. Furthermore, the continuing falls in the cost of renewable energy also means it is becoming cheaper to decarbonise our entire economy. We are at the beginning of one of the most significant industrial reorganisations of the last 100 years, and both business and consumers stand to benefit.