Plenary Speakers


Simon Mackenzie, CEO, Vector Limited

Simon Mackenzie is passionate about the power of technology
to transform the energy industry, and consumers’ lives. As
Group Chief Executive Officer, Simon has expanded and
driven Vector’s portfolio of businesses to embrace innovative
technologies and

strategies to deliver efficient, sustainable
energy solutions to consumers.
Simon was appointed Vector’s Group Chief Executive Officer
in 2008. His tertiary qualifications include engineering, finance
and business studies, and the Advanced Management
Programme at the Wharton School, University of


Phil Gibson, General Manager Hydro & Wholesale, Mercury

Phil is responsible for managing hydro operations, wholesale market activities and sales to large commercial and industrial customers. Phil joined us in 2004 and has held a number of roles across the business including Wholesale Markets Manager, and Head of Technology & Innovation in Consumer Markets. Prior to joining the electricity industry, Phil spent six years in structural engineering roles in Auckland, Wellington and London.

Cristiano Marantes

Dr. Cristiano Marantes is the Head of Engineering at Vector. He is responsible for the planning of the future Vector electricity and gas networks. One of his key responsibilities include the development and integration of new and innovative technologies, (e.g. batterystorage, micro-grids, electric vehicles, solar, demand response). Prior to joining Vector Cristiano was the Head of Innovation at UK Power

Networks, which is the largest electricity network operator in the UK. He is passionate about innovation, low carbon technologies and sustainability. Cristiano has a PhD in Power Systems from The University of Manchester, UK, was a noteworthy visiting lecturer at City University, London’s “Power Systems and Energy Management” MSc, and an influential member of the Smart Grid Great Britain

Kevin W. Sowerby

Received the B.E. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Auckland in 1986 and 1989, respectively. During 1989 and 1990, he was a Leverhulme Visiting Fellow at the University of Liverpool (UK). In 1990, he returned to the University of Auckland to take up an academic post in what is now the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where he is now a Professor. He served as Deputy Head of Department (Research) from 2008 to 2012. Dr Sowerby has spent extended periods of research leave at Virginia Tech (1997), Simon Fraser University (1997 and 2005), Motorola Research Labs (2005), Georgia Tech (2012), TNO in The Netherlands (2012), and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (2012-13). His research interests include wireless communications systems and, in particular, methods for designing reliable high-capacity networks. Within the IEEE he was the founding Chair of New Zealand’s first Communications Society Chapter and he has served as Chair of the New Zealand North Section and the New Zealand Council. He has served as the Region 10 representative on the IEEE Admission and Advancement Committee and is currently a member of the award committee for the IEEE Daniel E. Noble Award for Emerging Technology.

Waqar A Qureshi (Facilitator)

Dr. Waqar Qureshi is Senior Transmission Advisor for Mercury New Zealand where he focuses on transmission planning and engineering project management. He is an executive member of CIGRÉ New Zealand and actively involved in CIGRÉ Auckland 2017 conference. He holds Ph.D. qualification in transmission and large-scale wind  integration from the University of Auckland. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with Project Management Institute. He is registered Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) and International Professional Engineer (IntPENZ) with Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ).


Rebecca Shaw

Power system architecture with distributed energy resources: Example New Zealand

Rebecca has 9 years of experience in the New Zealand power industry, working as a design consultant at AECOM New Zealand Ltd, since graduating from Auckland University at the end of 2007. In her time at AECOM, she has worked in a number of roles, including design engineer, project/design manager and protection team leader. She has primarily specialised in protection design, working on a number of protection circuit designs and protection relay settings for various equipment types. Rebecca is the Secretary of CIGRÉ Working Group B5.54 “Protection and Automation Issues of Islanded Systems during System Restoration/Black Start”

Alexander Apostlo

Impact by more inverter based power penetrationon protection and control

Dr. Alexander Apostolov received MS degree in Electrical Engineering, MS in Applied Mathematics and Ph.D. from the Technical University in Sofia, Bulgaria. He has 40+ years’ experience in power systems protection, automation, control and communications. He is presently Principal Engineer for OMICRON electronics in Los Angeles, CA. He is IEEE Fellow and Member of the Power Systems Relaying and Control Committee He is past Chairman of the Relay Communications Subcommittee, serves on many IEEE PES Working Groups and is Chairman of Working Groups C2 “Role of Protective Relaying in Smart Grid”.

Herrmann, Hans-Joachim

Overview about the issues and the technical solutions” Challenges with the integration of Distributed Energy Resources in electric power grids DERs

Dr. Hans-Joachim Herrmann studied electrical engineering and electronics on Technical University of Dresden. He is the principal key expert protection and was involved in all developments of the numerical SIPROTEC devices from Siemens. He also drives innovations regarding new technologies in the field of protection. In 1997, he published a book with the title “Numerical Protection” (in German) and in his carrier more than 100 contributions on conferences and technical papers. He holds 11 patents in the field of protection. In the present time, he is active in the WG B5.24, protection requirements on transient response of voltage and current digital acquisition chain (process bus)


Michelle Henderson

Resource sector leader with a mechanical engineering background and experience across industrial sites/ functional roles in New Zealand and Australia. Having recently made the move from a GM role at Rio Tinto to the COO of PowerNet, Michelle enjoys leading others in creating innovative teams that can solve problems efficiently. She is a driven individual with high personal standards on work ethic and output

Rannveig Loken

Rannveig Loeken’s special field of interest is protection and control for the transmission system. She is currently the project manager in Statnett for a R&D project related to Digital substation. She has many years of experience from her position as Head of the Control and Protection section in Statnett. Since 2012 Rannveig has been the secretary of CIGRÉ Study Commitee B5. In addition, the work in CIGRÉ Working groups is of great interest, she is currently a member of WG B5.53. In addition, she is in the Advisory board of PAC world, Committee member of DPSP, and Member of International Advisory Committee APA

Nikki Newham

Nikki is a Chartered Professional Engineer with 15 years’ experience in the Power industry. Her background in in electrical engineering specialising in power system investment and transmission analysis, including postgraduate research in long term power system modelling and investment optimisation. She currently leads the System Planning team at Transpower in long term strategic grid planning, transmission investment analysis, system engineering technical support and regulatory approvals. Nikki has previously been a contributor to CIGRÉ WG C1.24 and continues to support engineering development through guest lectures and mentoring support to early career professionals


Moonis Vegdani

Moonis Vegdani received his Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (First Class honours) from University of Auckland in 2011. Since then, he has worked with organisations such as AECOM Australia, Transpower and Mercury; partaking in large scale Australian Defence, Infrastructure, Renewable Energy and New Technology projects. Within these roles, Moonis has been able to deliver his strong interest in the application of emerging new technologies, engineering and design, new product development and product commercialisation. He has also gained experience in bringing new energy solutions to market through Corporate Venture building activities. Moonis has recently completed his Masters of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship from University of Auckland and is currently working with Vectoras a New Technology Lead

Matt Shanks

Matt Shanks leads AECOM’s Transmission and Distribution design team in Auckland. He has worked in NZ, Australia and South-East Asia predominantly in the field of substation design and HV cabling, on projects up to 500kV. Matt is an observer member of SC B1 on HV Cables and is currently working on a high capacity 220kV cabling project in Auckland. Recently Matt has worked as a construction project manager for replacement of two 28MVA generator transformers and an outdoor substation rebuild for a major NZ generator. He has an interest in soil thermal resistivity testing and is working on a paper to predict soil dryout behaviour for NZ soils

Jasleen Kaur

Jasleen is a Graduate Power Systems Engineer at Beca with two years’ experience working on a number of large scale substation rebuild projects in New Zealand and Australia. As a secondary systems design engineer, she has also gained valuable experience working on arc flash hazard assessment studies and is currently working on a range of renewable energy generation prospects. She is currently the Chair of the IEEE Young Professionals committee for the NZ North Section. The group aims to provide a platform for young professionals in the industry to collaborate and share ideas for a brighter and smarter future. She leads the committee at hosting a range of events and activities across the region



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