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Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

  • 500 - 1,000 employees

Amber Lee

Working beside those that have the same passion provides a motivational and supportive environment that is invaluable.

What's your job about?

As the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) our role is to ensure the operation of secure and reliable energy systems. At this point in time, I am currently part of the Graduate Development Program situated within the Operational Forecasting team. My role is to support the real time operation of the National Electricity Market (NEM). To do this, on a daily basis I assess the short-term electricity demand forecast for the states that make up the NEM to validate reasonability in the forecast. There are several factors that may affect the electricity demand forecast such as, season, weather, solar conditions, and even day types, which makes it all the more interesting. To check the reasonability of the forecasts, I additionally conduct a number of comparisons, including confirming consensus with third party models, and using similar days in the past that have comparable weather conditions. Outside of this, I also perform analysis on different methods to improve our demand forecasting system (DFS) to continuously increase the performance of the forecasts that our models produce. My current focus is on how we can better capture the solar conditions in the forecasts as the rooftop solar penetration continues to grow.

What's your background?

I was born in Darwin and spent my entire life there right up until university. To give myself as many opportunities to figure out what I wanted to do in the future I moved to Melbourne and have lived there ever since. Going into university I was still unsure about what I wanted to do so I opted to study a double degree in a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science at Monash University. It sounds like a strange combination and is indeed a specialised degree, but I decided to choose it due to my interest in cosmeceuticals as well as my drive to problem solve and contribute to solving challenges that we face. As I made my way through my studies, I had the opportunity to work in different industries, through vacation work, projects, casual jobs, etc., including dairy manufacturing, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, pharmaceutical research, and consulting. Through these experiences I still found it difficult to get a grasp on what really interested me, however I discovered that I enjoy industries that were constantly changing and moving forwards towards a goal of a better future. My studies exposed me to the energy industry and as AEMO is very much a central body to the industry, I jumped on the chance to join the Graduate Program. That was back in 2020 and I have been at AEMO ever since, so that makes it about 1 and a half years so far.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Someone with a different background could definitely perform the same role. My team already has a diverse background, and although it is a technical role, speaking as someone with a chemical engineering background that mainly dealt with gas, it is not overly technical that you would not be able to learn it as you go. As a team with a strong teamwork environment, as long as you are willing to learn and take on opportunities that the team provides you with, you can fit well in the role.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is that my team works closely alongside the electricity control room where the real time operation takes place. Although it can be stressful, I enjoy the excitement that comes with being as close as I can to all the action and being able to give them the support that they need, and this role gives that to me. Additionally, working beside those that have the same passion provides a motivational and supportive environment that is invaluable.

What are the limitations of your job?

Limitations of the role is dependent on the person. If you do not enjoy bearing a lot of responsibility, being on call occasionally (that includes on weekends), or even becoming a weather expert, then you may see these as limitations to the job and this may not be the role for you.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Gain as much experience and take on as many opportunities as you can to find out what you really enjoy and want to do in the future.
  2. Don’t be afraid to reach out to different networks (e.g. friends, colleagues, professors, alumni, etc.) and ask them questions if they are involved in or are also interested in the same industries as you.
  3. Step outside of your comfort zone and get involved in all sorts of activities outside of studying that can help you gain other skills like leadership, communication, conflict resolution, etc.