Can hackers solve our energy transition problems?

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Melbourne University and Powershop to host “energy hack” to unlock ideas about EVs, virtual power plants, community energy, and the role of data.

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…That is the question, and in an effort to discover the answer, a call has been put out to “hackers, hustlers and hipsters” – that is Australian energy industry and policy experts, researchers and students – to come together to unlock ideas and stimulate entrepreneurship in the energy industry.

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The Energy Hack 2016, hosted by the University of Melbourne’s Energy Institute and online electricity retailer Powershop in Melbourne in late October, aims to bring together 80 participants to form 20 teams for a two-day energy brainstorm, culminating in each team pitching their big idea to a panel of energy and technology industry experts.

Themes include the virtual power plant, electric vehicles, the role of data, and community energy, and ideas will be judged by a penal including MEI Professor Michael Brear, LaumchVic director Dominique Fisher and Powershop strategic advisor Chris Murphy.

To guide the teams on topics like development, data, technology, whole of system analysis, market validation and positioning, growth marketing strategies and pitching, there will be a range of “diverse and highly skilled” mentors, including the broader Powershop develpment team.

“During this weekend you will gain access to exclusive data and gather otherwise unavailable insights into the business of delivering energy. You will collaborate with energy professionals and researchers and gain deep insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the industry and how its potential for good can be harnessed,” the Energy Hack website says.

“Network and get your head around the sector, including business and employment opportunities… Learn as much from researchers, business thought leaders as you can.”

Teams are also offered access to exclusive data and “otherwise unavailable insights” into the business of delivering energy.

“We are massive proponents of change and progress in the energy industry – and of putting the customer at the heart of any solution or service,” said MEI’s Brear.

“Technology will undoubtedly be the driver of transformational change in the industry and Powershop are pleased to partner with Melbourne Energy Institute to unearth these big ideas.

“The University of Melbourne has over 300 researchers engaged in energy research. Collaborating with the entrepreneurs and innovative service providers such as Powershop is important if our research is to translate into innovation,” he said.

80 places are available on a first come first serve basis. Those interested are invited to register here. The winning team will get prizes including $5000 cash, a Fonzarelli electric scooter, Powershop credits, and more.

We look forward to reporting on the results.

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