Raise your voice for energy efficiency and social equity
AGL Energy, the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS, the Association for Environmental and Energy Equity, Uniting Communities and RenewEconomy are very proud to announce the 2018 Gill Owen Essay Prize - honouring the memory of Dr Gill Owen, a tireless campaigner in the fields of energy efficiency and social equity.
A passionate and pioneering campaigner for social justice, Gill was one of the first women to bring the voices of the consumer and the disadvantaged to the Boards of the UK’s and Australia’s competition and economic regulators.
Gill fought bravely and passionately for these causes until her untimely death from an aggressive brain tumour in August 2016.
To celebrate Gill’s contribution to the empowerment of the disadvantaged, and her unwavering commitment to improving energy efficiency, we invite emerging voices under the age of 35 to offer their own valuable perspective on the future of energy efficiency and social equity.
This essay competition will be held annually until 2019.
When Gill and I did our first piece of policy work in Australia in 1983, little did we think how long our association with the policy communities in the country would be.
This competition is a wonderful way to mark Gill’s work and I would also like to thank all those who have enabled this to happen, and in particular the team at UTS.
I look forward to stimulating new thought from those who can build on Gill’s work afresh.
David Green, Gill Owen’s husband and former CEO, Clean Energy Council
I'm very grateful to have received the Gill Owen Essay Prize for my essay on energy optimisation - which has continued to be a highly politicised, yet critical component of energy security and social equity in Australia.
I'm thankful for the Gill Owen Essay Prize - a rare opportunity to express my own perspective on key aspects of Australia's energy transition.
Dev Tayal, winner of the 2017 Gill Owen Essay Prize
I have a strong interest in energy policy, writing and communication, and chose to participate in the Gill Owen Essay Prize to address issues concerning energy policy, high energy prices and their impact on disadvantaged, regional communities in Australia.
The essay prize was a great way to highlight concerns that I felt were being overlooked by current media coverage of energy issues, and understand the critical work Gill did in this area.
Getting involved in the competition also opened up fantastic new networks for me in the energy industry, and allowed me to further my interest in the energy sector outside of work and study.
Sally Commins, finalist of the 2017 Gill Owen Essay Prize (student)
I entered the Gill Owen Essay Prize to explore issues I care about, in a less formal context than my usual regulatory submissions.
Winning an award meant I was able to travel to Melbourne, attend the Gill Owen Memorial Lecture, and spend time with some terrific people who share my passions of social justice and energy access - a wonderful experience.
Tim Harrison, finalist of the 2017 Gill Owen Essay Prize (non-student)
Entries are open from Monday 10 September until Friday 9 November 2018.
Essays of between 700 and 1,500 words on the theme of energy efficiency and social equity are eligible.
Topics could include:
- Setting energy efficiency standards for rental homes is critical to reducing energy bills for low income Australians;
- NSW and Victorian energy efficiency schemes should prioritise low income households, just like South Australian and ACT schemes do;
- Local government has a key role in improving the energy efficiency of affordable housing;
- An alternative topic relevant to themes of energy fairness and energy efficiency
Participants are encouraged to discuss changes to policy which may improve the future outlook of energy efficiency and social equity.
As the purpose of the prize is to encourage emerging voices, essays must be written by authors aged 35 and under (i.e. date of birth after 10 November 1982).
Authors must be Australian citizens or permanent residents. Previous winners and runners up of the Gill Owen Essay Prize are not eligible to win.
Essays must refer to Gill Owen's work, research or publications.
Employees of the partner organisations (ISF/UTS, AGL Energy, Uniting Communities, Association for Energy and Environmental Equity, and Renew Economy) are ineligible to win a prize.
Essays will be judged for their:
- Clarity and style
- Originality and innovative thinking
- Their relevance to the theme of energy efficiency and social equity
- Their potential impact for positive change in relation energy efficiency and social equity
- Essays must refer to Dr Gill Owen's work, research or publications.
- The winning essay will receive a cash prize of $3,000.
- Two runner-up essays will receive a cash prize of $1,000 each (one for an enrolled student and one for a non-student).
- In addition to the cash prize, the winning entry will be published online with Renew Economy (subject to Renew Economy’s normal editorial guidelines).
- Monday 10 September 2018 - competition opens
- Friday 9 November 2018 - competition closes
- Friday 7 December 2018 - judging finalised
- Thursday 21 February 2019 - winners will be announced in Sydney
How to enter
2017 Gill Owen Essay Prize winners
The winners of the 2017 Gill Owen Essay Prize awards were announced on Wednesday 7 February 2018, at the State Library Victoria, with David Green (husband of Dr. Gill Owen), Michelle Groves (CEO, Australian Energy Regulator), Jim Cox (board member, Australian Energy Regulator), Sharon Darcy (CEO, Sustainability First) and Cameron Reid (Program Manager – Transition & Rehabilitation, AGL) in attendance.
The winner of the 2017 Gill Owen Essay Prize, Dev Tayal, has recently completed his PhD in Renewable Energy at Curtin University. Previously, he has studied at the University of Cambridge as a Menzies Scholar, and worked as a consultant for the UK and Australian governments. He is a regular contributor to renewable energy journals and media outlets.
His winning essay prize, "The emperor of energy efficiency", is available here.
We were also pleased to announce two runner-up prizes - one from the student submission category, and one from the non-student submission category.
Read the runner-up of the student category, Sally Commins' essay "Bill, and the case for those left out in the cold"' here.
More about dr gill owen
Dr Gill Owen's publication list
Journal and on-line articles
Choosing the power price you pay: voluntary time of use tariffs The Conversation, October 2013
Beating the peak without punishing the poor The Conversation, May 2013
Will smart meters benefit consumers? The Conversation, December 2012
Developing an effective demand side in the electricity market. Utility Business. Winter 2012 (article 3 in Regulatory Update series – invited expert columnist for 2012)
Effective consumer engagement essential to smart meter roll-out. Utility Business, Summer 2012 (article 2 in Regulatory Update series – invited expert columnist for 2012)
Time for a better deal for the fuel poor. Utility Business, Spring 2012 (article 1 in Regulatory Update series – invited expert columnist for 2012)
Smart meters costs and benefits. Energy World. June 2006.
When energy prices go up, how can Britain stop its poorest getting poorer? Parliamentary Brief, Vol 10, No 6, April 2006
Economic regulation and sustainability. Utilities Journal, August 2004.
Competitive pressures and social concerns. The Utilities Journal, November 1999.
How to afford green power. Parliamentary Brief, Vol 6 No 1, 1999
Academic articles, papers, books, chapters, conference papers
Sustainable development duties: new roles for economic regulators. Utilities Policy, Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2006, Pages 208–217.
The role of social policy in energy regulation. in The Regulatory Review 2000/01 Millennium edition. Centre for the Study of Regulated Industries, University of Bath, 2001. p 293-302
Energy efficiency and energy conservation: policies, programmes and their effectiveness. Energy and Environment, Vol 11 No 5, 2000.
Public purpose or private benefit? The politics of energy conservation. Manchester University Press, 1999. (book) ISBN 0719050251, 9780719050251
Who controls energy efficiency policy? A case study of the Energy Saving Trust. Energy Policy, Vol 25. No 11, 1997.
Energy policy, the government and the energy regulators: a case study of the Energy Saving Trust. Centre for Research on the Global Environment, University of East Anglia, 1995 (CSERGE Working Paper GEC 95-35)
Procedure over purpose. In “Whither Whitehall?” The Guardian, 1995 (Runner up in The Civil Service College/Guardian national essay competition).
Simple theories and complex policies: linking policy network theory and complexity theory.Paper presented at the 1995 Conference of the Political Studies Association.
Project lessons from trial recruitment. Consumer Led Network Revolution Trials. Co-author with Rebekah Phillips and Judith Ward. Northern Powergrid, July 2013
Addressing peak demand: the opportunities and risks for vulnerable households. Monash Sustainability Institute, April 2013
GB Electricity Demand – Paper 1 – Context and baseline data. Co-author with Judith Ward and Maria Pooley. Sustainability First, October 2011
GB Electricity Demand – Paper 3a– What demand side services could customers offer. Industry electricity demand. Co-author with Judith Ward and Maria Pooley. Sustainability First, September 2012
GB Electricity Demand – Paper 3b– What demand side services could customers offer. Household electricity demand. Co-author with Judith Ward and Maria Pooley. Sustainability First, April 2012
GB Electricity Demand – Paper 4. What demand side services can provide value to the electricity sector. Co-author with Judith Ward and Maria Pooley. Sustainability First, June 2012
GB Electricity Demand Paper 5 - Electricity Demand Side and Wider Energy Policy Developments. Co-author with Judith Ward and Maria Pooley. Sustainability First, November 2012
GB Electricity Demand Paper 8- Electricity demand and household consumer issuesCo-author with Sharon Darcy and Judith Ward. Sustainability First, July 2013
It’s not just about the money: taking the hassle out of energy saving. Sustainability First, March 2011.
Review of the fuel poverty measure. A report for Ofgem. Sustainability First, March 2010.
Smart tariffs and household demand response for Great Britain. Co-author with Judith Ward. Sustainability First, March 2010
Smarter pre-payment – a new era for gas and electricity prepayment in Great Britain.Sustainability First, February 2010
Towards an equitable climate change policy for the UK. The costs and benefits for low income households of UK climate change policy. EAGA, 2008
The consumer implications of smart meters. Co-author with Judith Ward. National Consumer Council, July 2008.
Smart meters in Great Britain: the next steps. Co-author with Judith Ward. Sustainability First, July 2007
Smart meters: commercial, policy and regulatory drivers. Co-author with Judith Ward. Sustainability First, 2006
Evidence of steps towards a sustainable energy system in other countries. Report commissioned by the UK Sustainable Development Commission, November 2006.
Community engagement in energy through energy mutuals. Mutuo, 2004
Economic regulation and sustainability Sustainability First, 2004
From margins to mainstream: making social responsibility part of corporate culture. Joint author with Gareth Thomas MP. Mutuo, 2002
Energy efficiency: warm homes, low bills, cool planet. Consumers Association, 1999
A new world for energy services? Joint author with Michael King. Energy Saving Trust, 1997.
The potential for sustainable energy in the UK. Joint author with Clive Bates and Persephone Watkins. International Institute for Energy Conservation. 1997.
A market in efficiency: promoting energy savings through competition. Institute for Public Policy Research, 1996.
Energy services market: will competition be left to chance? Energy Saving Trust and Gas Consumers' Council, 1994.
From energy supply to energy services: the role of the Energy Saving Trust in transforming the energy market. Energy Saving Trust, 1994.
Conference and seminar papers
Equity and climate change – UK and EU experience. Paper written for the Climate Change Round Table held in Melbourne, March 2007
Impact of the EU ETS on domestic customers. Paper written for Ofgem seminar on the EU Emissions Trading scheme, February 2005.
Shareholders versus the environment: Can businesses be good corporate citizens and protect the bottom line? Paper written for The Chief Executives’ Forum run by the consultancy Indepen, 2000.
Competitive pressures and social concerns. The Utilities Journal, November 1999.
How to afford green power. Parliamentary Brief, Vol 6 No 1, 1999.