The Project Steering Group sponsor the project and are the approving authority acting in a Governance role to ensure the project achieves the agreed outcomes.

The Project Steering Group is focused on the deliverables, timing, and cost of the project, along with stakeholder management and engagement. 

Eric Pellicer | General Manager Business Development at Powerco, Director at Drive Electric NZ Inc

Eric Pellicer joins the project Steering Group representing the EV industry.  Eric is the General Manager Business Development at Powerco.  He joined Powerco in 2011, holding a number of roles across the organisation prior to being appointed General Manager Business Development in 2018.  In his current role, he supports Powerco’s goal to help the New Zealand businesses in their decarbonisation journey through prudent investments in private energy infrastructure and future technologies.  This includes areas such as renewable generation, energy storage and transmission, hydrogen, low emission transport and decarbonising industrial processes.  Eric is passionate about e-mobility and has led many initiatives aimed at mainstreaming electric transport in NZ.   Eric Pellicer has been a Director of Drive Electric NZ Inc. since in 2016.

James Tipping | GM Market Strategy / Regulation – Vector

James Tipping joins the project Steering Group representing North Island electricity distribution businesses.  James leads the team at Vector responsible for market-related strategy and regulation, with responsibility for the relationships with the Electricity Authority, the Australian Energy Market Commission and Gas Industry Company.  He and his team are also actively involved in collaboration with retailers, flexibility providers and other EDBs in New Zealand, through various fora including the ENA and FlexForum.  

Prior to joining Vector, he led strategy development and a number of strategic projects for the Electricity Authority itself, as its Chief Strategy Officer, and before that he spent a decade with Trustpower in Tauranga in roles covering corporate strategy, regulation, policy and analytics.  All up, James has more than 20 years’ experience working in the energy sectors in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Europe.

Brian Fitzgerald | Technical Lead EECA

Brian Fitzgerald joins the Steering Group representing the Energy Efficiency and Conservation on Authority (EECA).  For the past twelve years Brian has been employed by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation on Authority (EECA), in a variety of technical and management roles.  EECA is a central government agency tasked with reducing NZ’s energy footprint and related emissions.  We do this with a combination of regulatory and incentive-based programmes across the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.

Brian’s current position at EECA is Technical Lead.  This role focusses on provision of robust, science-based Standards for use in Energy Efficiency Regulations and in the programmes that EECA delivers.  Between 1990 and 2005 Brian worked in Europe for the process engineering division of Ingersoll Rand.

The role involved delivering turnkey process solutions into the food, manufacturing, and waste sectors. Brian specialised in developing and delivering high end process control systems and monitoring equipment for use in these sectors.  Prior to leaving NZ, Brian worked exclusively in management roles in the NZ motor industry.

Allen Davison | Electricity Authority

Allen Davison joins the Steering Group representing the Electricity Authority.  Allen has worked in the energy sector for about 25 years, starting at Housing New Zealand Corporation where he worked on energy and environmental policy. 

Prior to joining the Electricity Authority in early 2022, Allen held a variety of policy and operational roles at the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

Dr Cristiano Marantes | Chief Executive, Ara Ake

Dr Cristiano Marantes joins the Steering Group representing energy research.  Cristiano is the Chief Executive of Ara Ake (New Zealand’s Future Energy Centre), a role he started in September 2020.   He has worked in different international markets.  Cristiano is a highly experienced energy sector leader with an extensive engineering background and an informed worldview on the potential of technologies and business opportunities that will likely emerge in a low emissions energy future.  

He has a life-long passion for enabling this future, through strong leadership, innovation and knowledge of new low emissions energy solutions

Quintin Tahau | Energy Market Services Development Manager, Transpower

Quintin has over two decades' experience in the energy industry.  His expertise lies in developing strategies for demand response and flexibility markets that enhance grid reliability and sustainability through innovation and market development.  Throughout his career, Quintin has collaborated with utilities, energy service providers, and regulators to design and implement innovative solutions using emerging technologies and market mechanisms to support the decarbonisation of the power system.

Quintin's deep understanding of energy markets and technical expertise has enabled him to drive successful outcomes.  He has been instrumental in creating new market structures and facilitating the integration of distributed energy resources into the grid.  He is committed to advancing the adoption of clean, renewable energy sources, using his passion, knowledge and experience to drive positive change in the energy industry.

Glenn Coates | General Manager, Asset Management and Planning, Aurora Energy

Glenn Coates joins the Steering Group representing South Island EDB’s.  Glenn has more than 30 years' experience in the electricity sector including 5 years in his current role at Aurora, senior management roles at Orion in Christchurch and operational roles for Transpower in Wellington.  Glenn is an electrician by trade and holds a University of Canterbury B.E. Hons in electrical and electronic engineering.  

At Aurora Energy, Glenn is responsible for asset management strategy and the associated growth and lifecycle management of their network assets.  He also leads the Aurora engineering teams to support the efficient and sustainable delivery of their network capex and opex projects and programmes.  Glenn is a member of various electricity sector working and advisory groups.

Waqar Qureshi | General Manager Asset Management at Wellington Electricity

Waqar Qureshi joins the Steering Group representing the EEA's Asset Management Group.  Waqar has been the General Manager Asset Management at Wellington Electricity since December 2022.  Before this appointment, he served as General Manager Electricity Network for Horizon Networks and General Manager of Information Technology for Horizon Energy Group in New Zealand with a total 17 years of experience across the electricity and energy sector.

Waqar is a Chartered Engineer and member with Engineering New Zealand since 2017 and is also a certified Project Management Professional with Project Management Institute since 2015.  Waqar is an engineer by background with a Master of Engineering and PhD qualifications in Electrical Engineering from the University of Auckland in 2009 and 2013 subsequently.   He completed his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Pakistan.

Waqar has a strong industry leadership footprint and is deeply involved in the New Zealand and global industries groups.  Waqar is current Chair of EEA Asset Management.  He is involved as a member or through thought leadership and governance in international organizations such as IEEE, PES and CIGRE as well.

Ryan Kuggeleijn | Head of Energy Innovation, Meridian Energy

Ryan joins the steering group representing the retail industry.  Ryan has 16 years experience in the energy sector across a range of leaderships roles in operations, strategy, and sales/marketing.  After ten years with BP Oil he is now part way through a career offset, having transitioned his career from fossil fuels to electrifying New Zealand with Meridian Energy. 

As Head of Energy Innovation, Ryan leads Meridian’s work to help homes and businesses reduce their emissions through the electrification of transport and process heat, the development of behind-the-meter solar and battery, and harnessing demand flexibility to reduce energy costs.

Bridget Abernethy | Chief Executive, Electricity Retailers’ Association of NZ

Bridget joins the Steering Group representing electricity retailers.  Bridget Abernethy was appointed Chief Executive of the Electricity Retailers’ Association of New Zealand in May 2022.   As a respected senior leader, she brings a wealth of experience including local and international experience to support ERANZ and the wider electricity sector at a time of significant growth and transformation.  Bridget’s career has spanned corporate communications and public affairs roles, where she has worked on complex issues across the public, private and community sectors.  

Before joining ERANZ, she held senior roles in external relations and government relations in the energy sector in Australia and New Zealand.  In her time at ERANZ, Bridget has supported work to help Aotearoa’s energy sector remain one of the world’s most efficient as we move toward a low-carbon future, while ensuring those most in need, receive support.

Peter Berry | Executive Director, Electricity Engineers' Association

Peter joined the industry in 1986 as the Executive Officer for the Electricity Supply Association of NZ and has been actively involved in the reform of the NZ electricity supply industry from its beginnings in 1987. In 1993, he was appointed Executive Director of the EEA and has refocused the organisation to meet the needs of its members in a changing environment.

Previously, Peter held positions within the University of Waikato, the NZ Army (Royal New Zealand Engineers), the Ministry of Civil Defence, and a leading NZ market research company. Educated at Waikato University and Victoria University, he has two Masters Degrees and a post-graduate diploma in business management. He is a Member of the Institute of Directors in NZ and has held a number of directorships. He is a founding member of the Electricity Supply Industry Training Organisation (ESITO) and the Electric Power Engineering Centre at the University of Canterbury.

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