“I’ve learnt more than I could have ever thought both professionally and personally, it’s been amazing.”

Having just completed his 6 month tenure at ABB in Genova, Italy, working with the micro-grid and distribution generation team, Stephen is reflecting on just how much he’s been able to learn in what’s been a relatively short time.

“Certainly their capabilities in terms of technical modelling, some of the control systems they use to integrate higher levels of renewables into isolated networks, was really impressive.”

As career moves go, the ES Cornwall scholarship offers some real insight into the workings of electricity networks globally.

“The idea behind the scholarship is to learn best practice from overseas and try and bring that back to benefit the Queensland power industry.

This is a picture of Stephen Sproul

“It was interesting to try and work in a place where English isn’t spoken everywhere and I really had to think about how to express myself.

“It made me reflect on how I communicate, I couldn’t use many acronyms or slang and I sort of realised that maybe I waffle on at times.”

Stephen’s next step is working in the USA’s home of innovation, California.

Strategen Consulting is an important player in the field of renewables, clean energy and advanced grid technologies providing utilities with strategy and policy advice.

This will be Stephen’s focus for the next six months, enabling him to take a hands-on approach in one of the world’s most dynamic energy generation locations while enabling him to share some of the experiences he’s had on projects such as Ergon’s award winning Grid Utility Support System.

“I’m really excited because California’s really at the forefront of setting up business models, metrics and policies to really drive renewables and innovation.

“There’s a lot of big utilities in that area and they’re taking a leading role in different types of innovation and I think it’ll be a really good environment to see how they all interact and work in together.”

When Stephen returns to Ergon mid-year he’ll take up his position back in Cairns as part of the Technology Development team.

In the meantime he hopes he might be able to teach his American counterparts a thing or two about the energy distribution business down under.

Queensland still boasts the highest rate of residential roof top solar penetration of anywhere in the world and the Americans are keen to know how we do it.

“It’s certainly a benefit to them to learn from us about what we’ve done and just from the technical experience I have I think they see that as a real asset.”