Nij Lal

Date: Tuesday 17 October

Time: 2 – 3pm AEDT

Forum: BSGIP seminar 

Speaker: Dr Nij Lal, Principal, Australian Energy Market Operator

Location: Zoom

Contact: Sarah Wilson, Communications Manager, BSGIP, mob 0478 563 281

Watch the recording here.

Australia’s rooftop solar panels regularly provide a quarter of all electricity demand on the east coast and more than 90% for South Australia. This is now affecting the energy market (spot prices in the last quarter were negative for half of all daylight hours in SA and Vic) and also the grid – solar curtailment is causing up to $4.5m for SA solar PV owners each year, and emergency backstop measures to switch solar off are being deployed across the country. 

With rooftop solar expected to increase five-fold in Australia in the coming decade, this talk will focus on how the social contract for connecting to the grid must evolve beyond the pay-plug-play expectations of electricity from the 19th Century, to a two-way agreement that is fair for both solar (and EV) owners and non-owners as the system transitions to higher penetrations of distributed energy resources (DER).

With an analogy between solar panels and apple trees, the talk presents a DER Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to support an environment of customer trust for active DER integration into the energy system, outlining a pathway for how this might be enshrined to support a DER-dominated future.


  • 5 min welcome and introduction by Hedda Ransan-Cooper, Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program, ANU 
  • 30 min presentation by Nij Lal, Visiting Fellow, ANU and Principal, Australian Energy Market Operator
  • 15 min Q&A facilitated by Hedda Ransan-Cooper, Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program, ANU 

About the speaker

Dr Niraj (Nij) Lal graduated with a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar in 2012, was a Renewable Energy Lecturer at the ANU from 2012–2015 and named one of the ABC’s Top 5 Scientists Under 40 in 2016. He received the Australia Museum’s Celestino Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science in 2021 and the Royal Societies of Australia and New Zealand Piasecki Prize for Outstanding Writing on Social Change in 2022, and regularly presents on ABC television and radio. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, Visiting Fellow at the ANU, Principal at AEMO and an academic expert for the International Energy Agency PV Task 14 Program “High penetration of PV systems in electricity grids”.