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Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

  • 500 - 1,000 employees

Jacqui Mills

Tell me a bit about your background.

I graduated from high school on Australia’s central coast and was lucky enough to spend two years travelling and working in snow seasons and hospitality. From there, I studied a Bachelor of Renewable Energy at The University of New South Wales, graduating in 2014. From there I worked at engineering agency AECOM and Infigen Energy before jumping on board with AEMO’s graduate program in February 2016. 

What made you choose AEMO’s graduate development program?

In my last year of university I completed two fantastic courses on the operation and planning of the National Electricity Market (NEM). Although I already had a strong theoretical background in engineering and renewable energy, the courses about the NEM really opened my eyes to the system as a whole, and made me ask some basic, but necessary questions like where does electricity go once it’s generated and how is it all connected?

Coming out of university I knew that AEMO had a highly regarded Graduate Development Program, and as the nation’s independent system operator, I knew it would allow me to learn a lot more about the NEM.

Since AEMO’s graduates get to rotate through different areas of the business, what has been your favourite role so far?

That is a really difficult question to answer! Honestly, I’ve loved every one of them and I think they have complimented each other really well. AEMO has also helped me organise a six-month secondment at AusNet Services and Hydro Tasmania for one of my rotations. Having the chance to visit a large range of transmission (14 terminal stations) and generation (18 generator sites) equipment was almost surreal, and the knowledge I gained and have brought back to AEMO has, and will continue to be, invaluable.

 And on the other hand, what is the most exciting thing you’ve done so far at AEMO?

I really like going into the control rooms. For me it’s the place where everything comes together, at AEMO. All that knowledge, expertise, and innovation eventually feeds into the control room at the end of the day. It’s the place where you see the assets and all the infrastructure working together like a big machine and I just think it’s fantastic!

So why is it important for you to work in the Australian energy industry?

Thanks to Australia’s uniquely large and isolated system, AEMO is already tackling a lot of the challenges that come with integrating lower carbon technologies. Having the opportunity to solve these challenges first means that Australia’s energy industry is in the perfect position to become a pioneer in the dynamic energy landscape.

Last question: what advice would you give someone who’s thinking about applying for the grad program?

I would say try and talk to someone at AEMO to get an idea about what it means to be part of the AEMO Graduate Development Program. This approach really helped me, particularly because I could reach out to graduates who had been to the same university as me. You really need to have the drive to take advantage of the AEMO grad program, and keep in mind that and there’s about 20 different roles that you could be a part of under the AEMO umbrella. AEMO has such a unique place in the industry and I think it is a great opportunity for any young engineer to be a part of!