AGL Energy has hired a leading US energy market strategist to head its new energy division, which will lead its efforts to push into the rooftop solar, battery storage and electric vehicle market in Australia.
The company said Elisabeth Brinton – a former head of corporate strategy for US utility PG&E, will take the position vacated by Marc England late last year. She will take up the position in the middle of September.
Among her responsibilities will be the roll-out of AGL’s solar and battery storage offerings, the integration of electric vehicle and charging stations into its business, as well as the world’s largest virtual power plant, announced last week for Adelaide, which will see 1,000 homes connected in a project designed to lower consumer bills, reinforce grid stability and pave the way for more renewable energy.
The new energy division recorded revenues of $127 million in the last financial year and a pre-tax operating loss of $21 million. It is not expected to return a profit for a few years, but will likely play a significant role in the long-term transformation of the company as it adapts to an energy market that moves from one based around centralised generation to distributed energy sources.
Before taking up her post at AGL, Brinton was responsible for strategic investments and mergers and acquisitions at PG&E, and led the exploration and implementation of new utility business models in California.
Her LinkedIn profile describes Brinton as a “disruptor at heart”, and notes she was also responsible for PG&E’s sustainability strategy (including helping get California’s 50 per cent renewables law passed). It says she also built up a $100 million technical product development and marketing agency.
She was previously chief customer officer for SMUD, the number-one ranked United States Utility by J.D. Powers, and ran global marketing for web infrastructure company LoudCloud, including during its initial public offering.
“Elisabeth is well regarded in the field and is a strong leader with a proven track record of successful innovation, execution and value creation across multiple industries,” CEO Andy Vesey said in a statement.
“Her contribution will add to the depth of talent and skill at the executive level and be an advantage to AGL as both it and the industry undergo transformation,” Vesey said.
Giles Parkinson is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the former editor of Climate Spectator.