With so many current conversations about green energy and climate change, Nerd Nite can’t help but jump in this hot topic. Join us in August, as we talk about deforestation in Africa, how green energy is priced and how it is stored.

Our friends at Mr Wow’s Emporium will be hosting us again with hot modern African food and amazing cocktails at our cozy, familiar bar.  Be there and be square!


Nerd Nite – Keeping it green
Tuesday, 5 August
at Mr Wow’s Emporium
97b Smith Street, Fitzroy
Doors 7pm/$5


Back to the lectures at hand:

*Presentation 1
Winners and losers: renewable energy and power prices
by Ken McAlpine

Description: Everyone seems to like renewable energy but there is no doubt it has become one of the big political battlegrounds in 2014, both in Australia and overseas. While power bills have almost doubled in the past 5 years, some people have tried to blame these prices rises on wind farms and solar panels. In this presentation Ken McAlpine will show you the reasons why your power bill has gone up in recent times, and how renewable energy can help bring it down.

Bio: Ken works as Director of Public Affairs for Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer. Ken oversees policy and media for Vestas across the Asia-Pacific region, and is also a board member of the Clean Energy Council here in Australia. Ken has previously worked as a ministerial advisor and a chief of staff in the Bracks Government in Victoria, and prior to that was a commercial lawyer at Deacons (now known as Norton Rose Fulbright). He holds law and arts degrees from Monash University.

*Presentation 2
The political economy of deforestation in Zambia and Mozambique
by Dr Angus Hervey

Description: Southern Africa is home to some of the world’s most beautiful, yet least known forests, the miombo woodlands. These forests are under threat due to a combination of subsistence agriculture, charcoal burning and traditional practices of setting fires. This talk is about the underlying causes of this phenomenon in two southern African countries, Zambia and Mozambique. Despite having relatively similar economic and political profiles, deforestation rates in these countries are remarkably different. Dr Angus Hervey, the presenter, spent six months in these countries trying to discover why – and his research suggested that the explanation is a lot different to standard accounts in most of the existing literature.

Bio: Dr Angus Hervey is a political economist, specialising in the topic of sustainable development in southern African countries. He holds a PhD in Government from the London School of Economics, where he was also the Ralph Miliband Scholar from 2009-2012. He is currently based in Melbourne, where he is the Community Manager for Random Hacks of Kindness, Australia’s leading civic hackathon, and the co-founder of Future Crunch, a forum for critical and intelligent debate about future trends for business and society.

*Presentation 3
Energy Storage: The energy revolution meets behavioural economics?
by Tim Sonnreich

Description: It’s said that electricity is a unique commodity because it cannot be stored. Our entire electricity industry is built on this premise, but is it really true and what would happen if we could cheaply and efficiently store energy? We’re about to find out, as a whole range of technologies from chemical batteries to ‘compressed air’ systems become available. Does this spell the end of the electricity grid through a ‘death spiral’ as more and more households produce all their own power on site? Definitely maybe. But before we predict the end of the grid we should consider consumer behaviour. What do people want from their energy system and is killing the grid the best way to get it?

Bio: Tim Sonnreich is the Stategic Policy Manager at the Clean Energy Council (CEC), the national peak body for the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. He leads the CEC’s work on energy storage. He is also responsible for managing the Council’s political advocacy with state and federal governments. He was a former senior political adviser on environment and technology innovation policies and has a Masters in Politics for Monash University.