Trading tools for mathematical models - top honours for former sparky

29 April 2016

Renewable energy networks is the new focus of former electrician Aaron Ramsden, who this week will graduate from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours and a University Medal recognising his academic excellence in the field of power engineering.

I think I came into my element at university
Aaron Ramsden, Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Engineering (Power)

Aaron’s Honours thesis, which investigated the impact of renewable generation and battery storage on the operation of the electricity network, provided several scenarios for the future management of Australia’s power system.

Dr Gregor Verbic, Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Future Energy Networks, congratulated Aaron who is graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Engineering) (Power Engineering) saying:

“I was delighted to be Aaron’s supervisor. His academic and logical thinking abilities are outstanding. A University Medal is a rare honor awarded by the University Senate to an exceptional student who must not only achieve outstanding academic results but also demonstrate consistent commitment to learning.”

Now a graduate employee at engineering consulting company Auercon, the former sparky says after several years ‘on the tools’ he realised he wanted to contribute in a different way to the nation’s power industry.

“I never thought I’d want to go to university when I left school, however within six years I had completely changed my opinion. Once I started my degree I instantly knew I had made the right decision to continue my studies,” the mature-age student says.

“I think I came into my element at university. I felt more ‘awake’ than I had previously. I was not very confident at first, and I studied a lot to make sure that I would pass my exams.

“I also carried over my work ethic from my career as an electrician which helped me to manage my study schedule.

“The issue I addressed in my Honours thesis concerns the impact of renewable generation and battery storage on the transmission network connecting all of the generators to homes and businesses that use the electrical energy they generate.  

“Eventually, once we start to use more and more renewable generators, we will need to use the transmission network in a different way to the way it was designed and intended to be used.

“I looked at the type of upgrades that will be needed in our transmission network so the transition towards renewable energy can be made.

“Most generators are privately owned. New generators are built by private investment. If there is a solid business case for a particular new generator then in general it will attract investment.

“I found particular transmission network connections and upgrades that are required in a hypothetical future scenario. These findings are useful because they show a pattern relating to the type of renewable generators and the locations that I have proposed for them to be installed,” says Aaron.

Aaron believes his findings can be generalised and used to manage our power system as we progress to a more efficient and environmentally friendly future.

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Victoria Hollick

Media and Public Relations Adviser
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