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University of Melbourne
Operational Forecasting analyst
Petar studied Bachelor of Environmental Engineering and Master of Energy Systems at Monash University and University of Melbourne
What is your background history? (where did you grow up, study, work)
I was born in Serbia but my family and I moved to Australia when I was about three years old. I grew up in the suburbs and attended the local public school, Carwatha College, where I achieved a 93.00 ATAR score. I had always been interested in environmental issues and sustainable living so I wanted to enroll in a course aligned with these topics. I ended up enrolling in the Bachelor of Environmental Engineering at Monash University, Clayton, where I completed my degree in four years. After completing my bachelors, I travelled to Europe and Asia and upon my return, I enrolled in a Master of Energy Systems at the University of Melbourne. This was to expand my technical and economic knowledge of energy issues. During my time at school and university, I worked casually in retail. Some of the many places I worked at was at Myer, Ralph Lauren, and the tennis Australian Open.
What is your current role at AEMO?
I am currently in the Graduate Development Program at AEMO, working as an analyst in the Operational Forecasting workspace. My role is to assess and validate the short term forecast (up to seven days ahead) of electricity demand in several states across Australia, which is highly dependent on weather, day of the week, and season. I use the previous day’s weather forecast to find days in the past with similar weather and solar conditions. I then compare the day’s electricity demand with the next day forecast electricity demand to check if the model has a reasonable forecast.
My other roles include model improvements to better predict electricity demand, as well as the registration process of wind and solar farms. I am also involved with improving the wind generation forecasting model called Australian Wind Energy Forecasting System (AWEFS). Ultimately, we want to improve the generation and demand forecast models to improved efficiency of overall NEM dispatch, pricing, and better network stability and security management.
What do you enjoy most about AEMO’s three year rotation process?
I really enjoy that we have the opportunity to work in four different teams across AEMO. There are so many interesting and diverse teams at AEMO ranging from system operation, markets, and stakeholder engagement. Each rotation is nine months in duration, which I believe is the perfect amount to spend in a team. It gives you enough time to learn about the team and the work involved. Another great aspect of the AEMO rotation process is you meet a lot of people both internally and externally, from all kinds of backgrounds and knowledge. You are then able to build your network within the energy industry and learn a great deal by working with different people.
What are some of the challenges you face in your role?
At the beginning of each week and month, I report on the previous weeks’ and months’ demand forecasting performance. The forecasting performance is based on how well our demand forecasts were compared with the actual demand. The challenges I face in the weekly and monthly reporting is deciphering and explaining to several teams the cause of any large differences between the forecast demand and actual demand. This process is sometimes time-consuming and requires a lot of analytical work.
What is the most exciting thing about working in the Australian energy industry?
The most exciting thing about working in the Australian energy industry is seeing the transformation that’s currently taking place. After speaking to people that have worked in the energy industry for a long time, the general consensus is that the changes that have occurred in the last five years is unprecedented. The rapid uptake of renewables is exciting but at the same time creating new challenges for AEMO to solve, like how do we integrate renewable energy technologies whilst maintaining system security?
What advice would you give someone looking to apply for the AEMO graduate program?
If you want to get involved in all aspects of the electricity and gas sector then the AEMO graduate program is for you. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about different markets, operation of the grid, engage with industry participants and many other things. You’ll also have the opportunity to work on exciting projects where you will learn a lot about things you never knew about. The program is particularly useful because by the end of it you’ll have experience and knowledge in four different areas of electricity and gas. This is great because it broadens your knowledge and expands your interest of work.