Background and program summary

Second Lateral Learning Program on Smart Grid Technologies and Implications for Inclusive Development

The University of Melbourne’s Melbourne School of Engineering (MSE) will hold the Second Lateral Learning Program on Smart Grid Technologies and Implications for Inclusive Development in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) from 2–6 October 2017. It will continue from and build on the first Deep Dive Lateral Learning Program on Inclusive Energy Solutions held at the University of Melbourne (29 August–2 September 2016) and training workshops held in India—Rajasthan (11–12 April 2016) and Madhya Pradesh (19–20 April 2017)—in collaboration with the ADB and the Government of India. The event in October will be followed by training workshops in Sri Lanka in April 2018 and at the ADB headquarters in Manila in 2018.

The 2017 program will focus on specific smart grid technologies and systems, policy and planning, and their implications for inclusive development. It will help identify opportunities to maximize the scope for addressing gender equality and social inclusion considerations in smart grid energy projects in the South Asia subregion, and will draw from ongoing research on women-friendly technologies in the energy sector that the MSE is conducting with ADB support.

The program covers the following thematic areas:

  • Inclusive energy solutions in the energy transition towards low-carbon systems and smart grid in developing Asia
  • Smart grid and challenges for social inclusion
  • Demand management and entry points for social inclusion
  • Socially inclusive smart grid roadmaps, policy and planning
  • Integrating gender equality and social inclusion criteria in energy systems modelling
  • Distributed generation: solar PV and mini-grids for inclusive access
  • National electricity markets: addressing gender equality and social inclusion in business models
  • Good governance and participatory methodologies

The program consists of interactive lectures and panel sessions, case studies, working groups on specific technical and social inclusion challenges, as well as field trips. Specific working group topics will include smart meters, microgrids, renewable energy integration, energy storage and management, rooftop solar PV, planning frameworks, engineering ethics and social inclusion, mainstreaming gender equality and social inclusion in institutions and cross-disciplinary approaches.

There will be approximately 45 participants from Asia. They will be senior government representatives from the power sector in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, as well as senior ADB specialists leading this work in the energy and gender equality and social inclusion space in Asia and the Pacific.

Aims and objectives

The program will enhance the knowledge and capacity of participants to understand the challenges and identify opportunities to address gender equality and social inclusion in the energy transition towards a smarter grid in Asia and respective national contexts.

The program will enable the participants to identify entry points for integrating gender and social inclusion in smart grid policy, planning, road maps and institutional arrangements and processes.

The program will share knowledge on world class research, innovation and international best practice in Australia, specifically Victoria, identifying and demonstrating how the University of Melbourne can contribute to addressing the challenges faced in the rapidly growing power sector in Asia, while simultaneously contributing to socially inclusive development pathways.