Dani
Alexander

Project: Flex Your Energy!

Find Dani on:
LinkedIn    Website

Dani is a researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) who is passionate about rebuilding our energy system to be clean, affordable, reliable and equitable. Her background is cross-disciplinary, reflecting the nature of her work bridging the gap between new technology and markets. She specialises in understanding game-changing technologies, with a focus on distributed energy resources to promote energy system flexibility.

Dani is an experienced leader of major research projects with expertise in facilitating diverse groups of stakeholders including large and small corporations, electricity networks, policy makers and regulators, research institutes and start-ups. She loves the challenge of bringing together disparate interests to achieve a common goal.

Prior to joining ISF, Dani worked across a wide range of clean energy policy and program areas in the Australian Government, including managing the bioenergy portfolio at the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

My driving force is to give more than I take from the world. And if I can help others do the same by leveraging an idea to create a bigger wave of positive impact, then I will be truly satisfied.

I am a passionate advocate for promoting energy solutions for a sustainable future. My work in the energy sector to date has been broad across policy, program management, governance and engagement, all towards promoting Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy. I have also experienced first-hand the inertia that holds us back in the “always has been, always will be” regime. As I looked to our global counterparts for a way out of this argument, I could see that change is possible for Australia. I believe that teams of people can go further than one person alone.

MY PROJECT

Flex Your Energy! is an initiative that seeks to answer this research question: how can established and emerging business leaders work together to promote a nimble, zero-cost approach to the energy transition?

Flexibility is the key principle that could underpin the global clean energy transition with least regret. Relying on ‘big engineering’ thinking to solve the energy transition is likely to lock out more efficient local solutions and future technology. It is tempting for some to cut the ribbon on big hydro, big batteries and big transmission infrastructure. However, these solutions are likely to increase energy bills by ignoring the revolution around smaller decentralised generation (like solar PV and batteries) and technologies that allow us to better control our energy use. We no longer need the same economies of scale that coal-fired generators required, or that large industrial users demanded – the ‘big grid’ thinking. Instead we need flexibility; we need to adopt new flexible technologies that are more nimble and more productive in a renewable energy future.

My project will test the feasibility of a local ‘energy flexing’ system for a set of sustainability leaders. The flexing system will consider the best technologies of today and the most prospective ones of tomorrow, to deliver an energy solution that benefits the consumer themselves as well as the electricity grid as a whole. Together we will develop a strong value proposition for energy flexibility that catalyses change.