The Master of Environment helped facilitate Beth's career redirection towards leading change in the decarbonisaiton of Australia's energy grid.
"Before starting my Masters I was working as a Senior Analyst in the Value Management function for BHP’s Base Metals business unit based in Santiago, Chile. The role was essentially supporting investment decision making under uncertainty for investments > US$10M and up to US$500M.
Our main product was copper and the market at the time was very strong, driven by demand out of a fast growing Chinese economy. BHP’s three copper mines in Chile were ramping up production in response. Chile is not endowed with fossil fuels like Australia. The mines, all located in the northern regions of the country, were powered via gas turbines where the gas feedstock was being supplied out of Argentina. With supply not meeting demand in Argentina, gas was redirected for domestic purposes, leaving northern Chile’s power generation assets shipping in expensive diesel to continue to supply the mines. Solar and wind were almost but not quite economic at the time, leaving coal the preferred economic choice. Frustrated by an inability to factor in externalities and, long-term, a more resilient fuel source, I searched for a course where I could learn some of the tools to facilitate this conversation with business and found the Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne. I applied and moved back to Australia to study full time.
The OEP provided the perfect platform for me to move into the energy industry, in particular providing a strong foundation in energy regulation and the law, solar engineering, government policy and sustainable landscapes that I draw on regularly in my role as part of the decarbonisation of the energy system. Without the OEP I would not have understood the regulated energy networks sector or been effective in facilitating change.
I am now working at Energy Queensland in its unregulated business unit called Yurika. My role as General Manager, Strategy & Emerging Opportunities involves setting the direction for the business to participate in the massive wave of investment in smart, renewable generation and demand response as Energy Queensland’s major asset, the distribution network, changes its utilisation patterns to facilitate the optimal integration of renewables from large generation right down to household solar."