Tim Nelson, the former AGL economist and energy market transition expert considered by some as a potential head of the Australia Energy Market Commission, is leaving the market rule-maker after a 16 month spell and will return to the private sector.
Nelson, who joined the AEMC in late 2018 as executive general manager of strategy and economic analysis at the AEMC, was leading stakeholder engagement in complex areas such as the huge uptake of distributed energy and its implications for the grid and market rules.
The AEMC is currently in the process of seeking a new chairman with the widely anticipated retirement of the long serving John Pierce after two five year terms, a period that has seen the AEMC criticised for being two slow to respond to the change in technologies and failing to adequately prepare the market for the shift to renewable and distributed energy.
Nelson is leaving to join Infigen Energy, the listed renewable energy company that owns wind farms in NSW and South Australia, a big battery in South Australia, and recently secured the operations of two fast-start gas generators that it will use to “firm” the output of renewables and expand its activities in the business market.
At Infigen, Nelson will be reunited with former AGL colleague Paul Simshauser. At AGL the pair wrote numerous analyses and papers that proved influential on policy settings at the time.
Nelson was one of the first energy analysts, at least within the legacy market players, to argue against the need for new “baseload” power in NSW, and noted the folly of trying to force coal fired generators to operate beyond 50 years. He is also an associate professor at Griffith University.
“Tim will be leaving the Commission in April to take up a new role at Infigen,” AEMC acting CEO Suzanne Falvi said in a statement after RenewEconomy’s enquiry.
“In the time Tim has been with the AEMC he has made a substantial contribution, including to its data analytics capabilities and stakeholder engagement activities. We wish him well in his new role.”
The AEMC said a search for his replacement will start soon.