Cameron O’Reilly, executive director of the Energy Retailers Association of Australia (ERAA), has been awarded a U.S. Fulbright Professional Scholarship, which will provide access and insight to the Australian energy sector of emerging United States energy policy under the Obama Administration.

O’Reilly will be based at the Center for International Energy and Environment Policy at the University of Texas in Austin between March and June 2009, and will also spend time at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, this year’s Australia-U.S. alliance Scholarship is centered on “lowering emissions from the stationary energy sector while remaining competitive.”

With an alignment of US and Australian energy policies seemingly imminent, and given the similarities between the Australian and Texas climates and energy systems – including a competitive generation and retail sector – O’Reilly specifically chose Austin as a base to examine the potential impact of a carbon price on the U.S. energy sector.

“Texas as a state will be one of the most impacted areas in terms of an emissions trading scheme, and is home to some of the companies that will be most affected by a price on carbon,” O’Reilly said. “It will be a case study of the challenges faced by the U.S. and provide examples of how Australia-US cooperation in the energy sector can be maximized.”

During his study leave of absence, which began on February 28, 2009 and runs through mid-June, O’Reilly’s role will be performed in an acting capacity by the ERAA’s director of policy, Alastair Phillips.

The ERAA is the peak industry body representing retailers of electricity and gas in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) and national gas market.