Adrian Pang is Squadron Energy’s Market Operations Manager. He oversees our Market Operations Centre, aka the Control Room. For science week, we sat down with Adrian to learn about his job, why STEM skills are important, and what he loves about working in renewable energy.

Written by Squadron Energy |

What do you do as Market Operations Manager?
I have three main roles - making sure our assets are compliant with all the National Electricity Market (NEM) rules, understanding and improving our plant’s performance, and bidding our generation into the NEM for economic gain.

Why is STEM important in your role?
STEM is very important for a good market operations controller. The NEM is operated under a big mathematical optimisation model, so having that knowledge really helps us understand the cause and effect of various market outcomes.

Having that science and engineering background also helps us solve plant-related problems and develop more robust systems to operate our assets.

Lastly, it is always useful to have some technology know-how so we can make use of all the data captured by the NEM and our plants – in a smart solution.

SQE 00 Adrian Pang  

How did you get into this field of work, and what did you study?
I studied Photovoltaics Engineering (fancy word for ‘solar power’) after being sold on free power and cool lab coats when I was a kid…But my career started at a McDonalds Drive Thru. A customer driving his solar company car came in and I asked him for a job, while serving him fries. Months later I began interning for him and we combined his tradesmanship with my data analysis. Over the years I got more and more interested in the larger-scale power generation industry, so I decided to bridge across with a Masters in Power Engineering. Fast forward to today, I continue to help our asset managers and site managers out by offering data analysis and getting excited by NEM trends.

How do renewables work together to power the National Electricity Market?
The NEM is like a big treadmill where everyone needs to run at the same pace, be it renewables, big thermal power plants, or your home electricity demand.

Renewables come into the NEM at a low cost when we have resources, bringing average cost of electricity and total CO2 emissions down, but we still have to obey the treadmill rules and make sure our power quality is running at everyone’s pace.

Would you encourage others to pursue a career in STEM?
Of course I would – I say we should embrace our inner data-loving problem solver!

Some people tend to think of STEM as boring, but I don’t remember a lot of kids hating Lego! There are a lot of interesting puzzles in real life, and STEM walks you through some known solution, so you have an easier time coming up with answers to your challenge.

What do you like most about the STEM field?
I remember being blown away when we first wrote structured query language (SQL) codes to filter and sort our data. We are now performing calculations and reporting results from them, all automatically, without any intervention! Who knows what we can do next!

What do you like most about working in renewable energy?
There is always something new you can learn in the industry.

Why is science, and all STEM subjects, so important to our net zero goals?
We need creative minds with a problem-solving mindset to help us break down the big goal and produce practical strategies to move towards net zero, one step at a time.


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