Enlit Australia (formerly Power ± Utilities Australia) was due for its first outing in August 2020; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic those plans had to be reconsidered.

We sat down with Enlit Australia Event Director Michael Silber to find out more.

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International Issue 3-2020. Read the full digimag  or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

How has COVID-19 impacted the planning of Enlit Australia?

As the pandemic unfolded around the world the Australian Government enforced restrictions on mass gatherings and as a result the decision was made to postpone Enlit Australia to 2021. The event, which was due to take place from 19 – 20 August 2020, will now run from 10 – 11 March 2021 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

We were closely monitoring the situation and followed the advice and guidelines stipulated by the Australian Government and Health Authorities. In consultation with the industry, we decided to reschedule Enlit Australia to 2021 to minimise potential health risks to those connected with the event. It was not a decision we took lightly; however, our primary concern was and always is for the safety and wellbeing of our visitors, exhibitors and partners.

We are pleased with the response to our date change, with our stakeholders enthusiastically endorsing the new March 2021 dates. The general consensus is that the timing is ideal as it is in the first quarter of the new year and with most energy industry shows in Australia moved into the fourth quarter of 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, March of next year will mean that the industry event calendar is clear.

Furthermore, moving Enlit Australia to early 2021 will enable us to deliver a more meaningful event for our exhibitors and partners, as members of the industry will be eager to interact once again at the beginning of a new year.

What can we expect from Enlit Australia 2021?

Whilst the show has been moved to 2021, the team is still busily preparing for a content rich show that truly embodies the notion of being ‘the inclusive guide to energy transition’. Focusing on the three pillars of Expo, Knowledge and Network, Enlit Australia is a unique event in that it covers the industry from end-to-end. From generation, with no bias toward any particular generation technology, transmission/distribution and on into utility retail.

The exhibition floor will have more than 110 exhibitors and will reflect the industry need for an event that offers solutions and technology that allow for a ‘whole of system’ approach.

Our comprehensive knowledge programme also reflects this whole of system approach. It features the Enlit Australia Summit, where top industry executives will focus on the strategic issues and challenges facing the industry. We will also feature three free to attend knowledge hubs: Retail & Digital Transformation, Transmission & Distribution and Generation & Renewable Technology which will focus on solutions and technology. In all we expect to have more than 100 industry experts presenting to our attendees.

We are also pleased to present VIP breakfasts, industry roundtables and technical presentations from start-up companies that will allow attendees to take a ‘deep dive’ into a variety of issues and questions.

Our third pillar of networking has been interwoven into various aspects of the show to provide numerous opportunities for all to engage in more in-depth conversations or to simply catch-up with industry colleagues.

These include a networking lounge, networking lunches, coffee stations located on the show floor, a happy hour at the end of the day and a gala industry party.

One of the most important benefits we bring to the Australian market is being part of the Enlit global brand. The Enlit events are the ‘inclusive guide to the energy transition’ and Enlit Australia is part of a brand that holds events in Africa, Asia, Europe, India and the US. This enables us to attract speakers and delegates from around the world who can bring an international perspective.

How is the show shaping up?

Our major sponsors for 2021 include GE Australia, TransGrid, Smart Energy Water, Wipro, Sumitomo. Among our confirmed exhibitors are a number of Chinese firms under the umbrella of China Chamber of Commerce (CCCME) and firms such as Utilibill, Sunlec, Yokogowa, S & C Electric, Intercel, Agility CIS and many more. And despite the pandemic we are receiving new enquiries and bookings every day.

Additionally, our association partners – including Australian Energy Council, Smart Energy Council, Energy Networks Australia and the Energy Users Association of Australia – will all be working with us in delivering quality content.

We have had great response from our speakers and most who had committed to speak in August have confirmed they will be happy to join us in March of 2021.

Speakers such as Stephen Davy, CEO of Hydro Tasmania; Richard Van Breda, CEO of Stanwell; Sarah McNamara, Chief Executive of Australian Energy Council; Gordon Wymer, Chief Commercial Officer, Snowy Hydro; Lachlan O’Niel, Data Scientist, CSIRO; Andrew Mconnell, Senior Engineer, AusNet Services; and James Seymour, CEO of C4Net among dozens of others have all indicated they will be joining us. Speakers from Western Power, Synergy, AGL, Momentum Energy, Wel Networks, Electricity Authority of New Zealand, Jemena, Energy Queensland will be present.

With live events and travel at a standstill, how has the Enlit Australia team diversified its offerings?

We were excited to launch the Enlit Australia Digital Series back in April, and this has been designed to keep our Enlit community connected and engaged during these uncertain times.

We launched an Interview Series, which can be accessed via our website and social media channels. So far we have engaged with executives from CSIRO, the Australian Energy Council, Uniper, the International Microgrid Association and we have interviews planned for the near future with GE Australia, CleanCo, Hydro Tasmania and AGL. We have many more in development and look forward to sharing these over the coming months.

Our first webinar was a joint presentation with Enlit Asia exploring the impacts of hydrogen with a panel of experts from across the AsiaPacific region. To say we were blown away by the response to the webinar is an understatement – our pre-registration numbers exceeded 800.

It also provided a wonderful opportunity for the Enlit Australia and Enlit Asia teams to work together on an event that benefited the larger Enlit global community. We look forward to collaborating more with the Enlit teams around the globe as each of our events draw closer.

We are also planning webinars that are Australian focused and shortly we will be announcing the dates for our Startupbootcamp session focused on early-stage investing in energy start-up companies. SEI

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For more information on the event or to be kept up to date, visit the Enlit Australia website.