The Audacity of Certainty

Thursday 23 October 2014
6.30 - 8.00pm

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General Lecture Theatre, The Quadrangle, University of Sydney



Co presented with Sydney Ideas and 350.org

How the rooftop revolution is winning and why Australia needs to back the trend

Co presented with Sydney Ideas and 350.org

Australian-born Danny Kennedy, who founded the highly successful US solar company Sungevity, will talk about global energy trends, the speed of solar and wind energy uptake and why Australia needs to buy in now to be part of the rising renewable energy tide.

Chair: Adam Spencer

Nicky Ison – Institute of Sustainable Futures: The rise of community-based renewable energy projects

Professor Tony Vassallo – The University of Sydney: The rapid improvement in solar battery storage and how this will change the capacity and use of solar take up in Australia and worldwide.

Danny Kennedy is founder and International Business Development Coordinator of Sungevity. An Australian by birth, Danny has had global recognition as a sustainability activist, businessperson and opinion leader. He started the highly successful US-based solar company Sungevity in 2007 and now leads international business development for the company, including a chapter in Australia. He authored the book Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy – and Our Planet – from Dirty Energy in 2012. He also co-founded The SfunCube – the only US Incubator and Accelerator program supporting solar entrepreneurs to succeed. The US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) awarded Danny the “Innovator of the Year” award for moving the Planet Forward in 2011; in 2013 Rolling Stone described him as a “Solar Maverick”. Before Sungevity, Danny was Campaigns Manager for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. In 2001, he ran Greenpeace’s California Clean Energy Campaign, the successes of which helped lead to the current California Solar Initiative. He also sits on the boards of several solar start-up companies including Mosaic, Powerhive and Sunergise. He serves with several non-profit organisations including the Board of the Solar Foundation, VoteSolar, the Clean Tech Council of Sierra Club and World Resources Institute’s New Innovators Council.

Nicky Ison is a Senior Research Consultant at the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) and a Founding Director of the Community Power Agency. She is an expert in the field of community energy, specialising in energy policy and governance, energy options assessment and community owned renewable energy. During 2010, Nicky undertook a self-funded study tour of 30 community energy projects and organisations across Europe. She is lead author on the National Community Energy Strategy and helped organise the inaugural Community Energy Congress, which was held in Canberra in June, 2014. Nicky, along with ten others, founded the Coalition for Community Energy, using a collective impact framework to grow a vibrant community energy sector in Australia. Nicky has spent the last decade as a researcher, advocate, facilitator and organiser in the community climate and energy sectors and was recently recognised for her work in the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence list.

Professor Tony Vassallo has held the Delta Electricity Chair in Sustainable Energy Development at the University of Sydney, in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering since 2008. Prior to this, he held the position of Senior Principal Research Scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), followed by a period of consultancy to industry and government in the field of sustainable energy technology. He has a PhD in chemistry from Macquarie University. Professor Vassallo led the CSIRO Carbon Supercapacitor Project from 1994 till 2001, which led to the formation of an Australian start-up company that has received over $40 million of investment funding. Professor Vassallo’s energy storage research has been recognised with the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal, for the Low Emissions Vehicle Team (joint) in 2000. He also shared the CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement in 2004, as joint team leader of the High Power Supercapacitor Team. He is the past President of the Australian Institute of Energy, and leader of the Clean Energy Research Cluster in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies at the University of Sydney.