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Dr John Ward

Research Director, Energy Systems


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Dr John K Ward is the Research Director of the Energy Systems Research Program at the CSIRO and is responsible for driving the program’s science direction and ensuring the program is developing a suite of science capability to meet future industry needs. His research is particularly focused on adding intelligence to the interaction of energy systems within the electricity distribution network.

Leading the Energy Systems (GEES) Research Program, John is delivering of a research portfolio, with over 50 staff over multiple sites, tackling Australia’s national energy challenges – including through fundamental research into building thermal physics, behavioural science, electricity network optimization, solar forecasting and energy storage.

Dr Ward has a significant role in shaping Australia’s future energy systems with the increasing uptake of renewable generation, he:
* represents Australia as the technical lead of the Mission Innovation Smart Grids innovation challenge – supporting the Australian Government in their commitment to the Paris Climate Change agreement;
* is the Australian Representative on the International Energy Agency (IEA) Smart Grid network (ISGAN) and achieved acceptance of the CSIRO Renewable Energy Integration Facility (REIF) as part of the IEA Smart Grid International Research Facility Network (SIRFN);
* has undertaken technical power quality studies for a number of remote sites to manage the technical challenges of transitioning these sites to renewable energy.
* is Chair of the International conference on the Integration of Renewable and Distributed Energy Resoures (IRED 2020) & has been a member of numerous technical committees for international conferences;
* developed the first Virtual Power Plant in Australia and was the Principal Investigator of the ARENA Virtual Power Station 2 project;
* is a member of several Australian Standards committees and developed significant parts of standards for PV installation, inverter control & grid interaction, demand response, and energy storage safety & installations;
* helped shape the CSIRO/ENA Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap (ENTR) as a member of the Program Industry Reference Group (PIRG).

Dr Ward has a history of delivering innovation from basic research through to commercialization. Recent research by Dr Ward on optimized grid integration and thermal management of energy storage has been the foundation for start-up Evergen. His research on optimised building control systems was commercialised by BuildingIQ and has achieved widespread international uptake, including deployment in the iconic Rockefeller Center. BuildingIQ listed on the ASX in 2015 with an indicative market capitalization of $85M.

As lead engineer and project manager for the Hornsby Library TrigenAir development, Dr Ward delivered Australia’s first desiccant based cogeneration system. This provided building heating and cooling utilising waste heat from a micro turbine generator whilst minimising greenhouse gas emissions and also reducing the site electricity load during times of peak electricity demand. This foundation level research now underpins CSIRO desiccant solar cooling technology.

Dr Ward obtained his Ph.D. in control theory in 2002 from the University of Newcastle. He has published over 60 research articles in a range of areas (google scholar: over 1100 citations, h-index 17) and is currently focusing on energy efficient building systems, optimisation methods for distributed (energy) systems and multi-agent learning methods.

Academic Qualifications

  • 2002

    Doctor of Philosophy (Elec)
    The University of Newcastle

  • 1997

    Bachelor of Engineering (Elec, Hon 1)
    The University of Newcastle

We have publications by Dr John Ward