Paul Myors, energy efficiency expert, Energy Australia
Paul Myors knows all about power: electrical power, that is. He knows how to use it efficiently, renewably and sustainably and has become Energy Australia's leading spokesman on all matters environmental.
The electrical engineering honours graduate has overseen the building of wind and solar power generators, and as senior consultant in Demand Management he dances a line between environmental advocacy, technical expertise and pragmatism.
"Over 90 percent of Australia's electricity comes from coal," he states. "We enjoy some of the cheapest electricity in the world and that's underpinned our economy and standard of living however we now must address the greenhouse impact of generating electricity from coal.''
For those who don't know, coal-powered electricity is one of Australia's largest greenhouse polluters.
"But the solution is not as simple as just putting a few solar panels on our rooftops," the 43-year-old Newcastle-born engineer says.
Myors' role is to support energy efficiency projects that help reduce demand for electricity and therefore reduce greenhouse gas emissions. His job can be as varied as doing a radio interview to explain why householders should turn televisions off at the wall to stop guzzling standby power, all the way through to planning demand reduction strategies for the Energy Australia grid.
"Demand for energy grows every year. If you look at your house now compared to 10 years ago, there are more appliances to consume electricity. We all have computers and modems and there are probably three TVs in the house compared to the one or two we had 10 years ago," he says.
Increasing affluence and population growth drives demand for electricity, which increases the country's greenhouse gas emissions. "When you look at the greenhouse problem in the cold hard light of day, it's a massive challenge and sometimes it can be frustrating because there is no magic bullet solution," he says.
"While it's very important to advocate renewables (like wind or solar power), realistically I think it will take decades before it can supply a significant portion of our energy. We need to explore many options in finding a solution to global warming.
Myors' passion for sustainability and the environment is personal, as well as professional. "I'm a surfer and maybe that influences the importance I place on the environment and looking after the planet," he says.
His own home uses as little electricity as possible it is fitted with high star-rated appliances and energy-efficient light bulbs and Myors has lived without a car for two years. "I got around on public transport and my bike and was definitely healthier and fitter. I just caved in, though, and bought a car again," he says.
Myors began working for a Newcastle power company when he left high school, undertaking a cadetship program to study engineering while being paid a regular salary. "It was like having a normal job, but I went to university one day a week and worked during my breaks and holidays," he explains. "The degree would normally take four years, but I did it in six and was paid."
After various stints throughout the company he was rotated around departments he eventually became a project manager for some of the first wind and solar power generators in NSW. "It was 10 years ago that I had the chance to align my career with some of my personal values," he says.
"You can imagine that 10 years ago, not many energy companies wanted to hear how to use less energy. Things have changed a lot and Energy Australia gets right behind the message. When we launched our first Greenpower product in 1997, it was a struggle to source enough renewable power to sell. These days, there are wind farms springing up everywhere. A lot has changed."
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