Leadership Forum

The Industry Leadership Forum will be held on Wednesday 8 December from 10:15am – 12:00pm (AEST).



Prof. Paul Simshauser, AMPowerlink

Prof. Paul Simshauser AM brings to Powerlink more than 20 years’ experience in the energy industry across the public and private sectors with extensive experience in generation, retail, energy policy and public administration.

Paul’s previous roles include Director-General of the Queensland Department of Energy & Water Supply, EGM Energy Markets at Infigen Energy and Chief Economist & Group Head of Corporate Affairs at AGL Energy Ltd. He has also held executive positions at Stanwell Corporation and Babcock & Brown.

Paul holds Bachelor Degrees in Economics and in Commerce, has a Masters Degree in Accounting & Finance, and a PhD in Economics. He is a Fellow of CPA Australia, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Paul is also Professor of Economics at Griffith University, a Research Associate at the Energy Policy Research Group, Cambridge University, and is widely published on energy economics in academic journals.

He was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 for significant contribution to the energy industry through executive roles and applied economics and policy research.


Dr Alex WonhasAEMO

Alex joined AEMO in the role of Chief System Design Officer in January 2019, and is responsible for delivering AEMO’s expanded focus on system design, development and engineering.

Alex joins AEMO with over 15 years of experience in the energy sector, most recently from international engineering and advisory firm Aurecon where he was Managing Director Energy, Resources and Manufacturing and especially focused on growing energy and resources advisory services to supplement Aurecon’s traditional engineering business.

Prior to Aurecon, Alex was the Executive Director responsible for CSIRO’s Environment, Energy and Resources research and development. Alex holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Cambridge, UK.





Mr John ColeEdify Energy

John Cole is the Founder and Chief Executive of Edify Energy.  Edify is a leading Australian utility scale renewable energy and storage company.  Edify has originated, financed and delivered 800 MW of utility scale solar PV and battery storage projects, with a strong pipeline of projects to follow.   Edify was recently granted development approval for a 1 GW green hydrogen production facility in Townsville, North Queensland.  This is the first such project to receive planning approval in Queensland.

Edify is a believer in harnessing new smart technology to address energy market needs, reduce risk for investors and improve the quality of the power system, ultimately to support and accelerate the energy transition.

John is passionate about delivering renewable energy and storage solutions for the benefit of business and individual consumers.







Mark Paterson, Chief Strategic Officer of Strategen-Australia Pacific.

Mark Paterson is Chief Strategy Officer and Managing Director of the Strategen Australia/Pacific practice based in Australia. Paterson is an influential thought-leader in whole-system grid transformation and has played an integral role in Australia as it navigates to become one of the world’s most deeply decentralized electricity systems.

Most recently, Paterson served as General Manager of the Consumer Energy division at Horizon Power, a Western Australia utility responsible for providing electricity across the most remote one third of the Australian continent. This is the world’s largest territory served by a single utility, with a landmass 5x larger than California and a total population similar to that of Pasadena. In this role, Paterson helped shape the customer-centric High-DER strategy for Horizon Power’s portfolio of 38 microgrids. He also led the development of an entirely new utility asset class that makes it possible for thousands of very remote customers to receive a full electric utility service without the need for a high-risk, high-cost grid connection.

Prior to that, Paterson led the Electricity Grids & Renewable Energy Integration team at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. There, his multidisciplinary team collaborated with over 200 national stakeholders to co-create an integrated set of transition pathways for Australia’s electricity networks to 2027.  This national process spanned customer, technological, utility business model, rate design and regulatory domains and was supported by extensive techno-economic modelling.  An integrated suite of agreed actions was delivered for navigating the 2017-27 decade and over AU$100bn of economic value was identified through whole-system optimization.

Paterson draws upon a diverse set of disciplines including systems thinking, strategic foresight, behavioral economics and transition road-mapping to support a whole-systems approach.  Paterson holds a Master of Enterprise from the University of Melbourne and undergrad qualifications in Business and Engineering.  He is a member of the Clean Energy Council’s Distributed Energy Leadership Forum, an Associate Member of the GridWise Architecture Council (US DoE) focused on Transactive Energy Systems and Emeritus Chair of the AS/NZS4755 suite of demand response standards.