In June 2015 the call for applications was made for the next round of the E.S.Cornwall Memorial Scholarship.

Following from this, the University of Queensland received perhaps the largest number of applicants for the scholarship in recent memory.  A significant proportion of these applicants were of high quality.

As such, the selection process has taken a number of months to complete.  At the end of this process, two scholarships have been awarded – both of 9 months duration – as follows:

Scholar #1 is Mr. Beer Opatsuwan, currently an engineer at Energex

Mr Opatsuwan will be heading overseas in 2016 to study aspects of Asset Management Excellence.

During  the course of his scholarship, Beer will provide quarterly reports, which will be hosted on this website.

Scholar #2 is Mr. Stephen Sproul, currently an engineer at Ergon Energy

Mr Sproul will be heading overseas in 2016 to study aspects of Improving Network Utilisation, Renewables Hosting and Affordability through New Technologies.

The quarterly reports which Stephen provides throughout his scholarship period will also be available here on the scholarship website.

Both topics are considered to be of high value and relevance to the Australian power industry and worthy of being pursued under the Scholarship.

We wish both of them the best experiences in their time overseas – and look forward to them returning, to provide a benefit to the Queensland (and Australian) electricity supply industry.




During my third and final quarter with UK Power Networks (1st March 2015 to 31st May 2015) I have undertaken placements with the Network Design Standards team and Future Networks team. My work within these groups have provided me with an understanding of:

  • The Transform model, Element Energy Load Growth model, and Imperial College London Load Related Expenditure model. These models provide UK Power Networks with an understanding of their long-term load growth, estimated customer load profiles, and long-term load driven investment costs.
  • UKPN’s application of the IPEC online partial discharge monitoring tool, which is used in proactively identifying and locating faults on HV switchgear and cables.
  • Undertaking large scale data analysis to assist in understanding and improving network reliability.

My work with the Element Energy Load Growth and Imperial College London Load Related Expenditure model have given me a working experience with these models, while highlighting their importance in understaning and quantifying future network challenges. In contrast my, experience with online partial discharge monitoring has highlighted some of the opportunities and challenges of partial discharge monitoring and its use in managing ageing assets.

My third quarterly report (PDF 1.6MB) provides an overview of this work and the its value to the electricity supply industry.

I welcome any feedback on this report or my future direction.


For those young engineers working in the electricity supply industry who are considering submission of an application in the latest round of the scholarship (closing 31st July), an information evening has been organised so you can learn more about the scholarship and ask questions of past scholars.

Key details are as follows:

Where:  Room 502 (5th floor) – Advanced Engineering Building (Building 49), Staff House Road, University of Queensland

When:  Thursday 16th July 17:00-18:30

The session will cover:

RSVP:  Please email to advise if you are attending the briefing for catering purposes


Applications are now being called for one of Queensland’s most prestigious and longstanding scholarships that provides up to 18 months overseas work experience for young power engineers, the E.S. Cornwall Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship is awarded every two years in memory of Edward Satchwell Cornwall who, in the first half of the 20th Century, was a highly influential member of the Queensland energy industry and a strong advocate of tertiary education and professional development for engineers working in the power industry.  Further history is here.

Engineering graduates from all Queensland universities are now eligible to apply for the E.S. Cornwall Scholarship.  Preference is given to applicants with 3 to 5 years’ experience in the power industry.

Chair of the Scholarship Advisory Committee, Professor Simon Bartlett at UQ, is a former scholarship recipient himself and said that

“The scholarship provides young engineers with invaluable experience in the global power industry and is a life changing experience, both career-wise and personally.”

“In addition to technical ability, the Committee is looking for a young engineer who demonstrates initiative and thorough planning as well as leadership ability and who would benefit from overseas work experience.”

Head of the power and energy systems group at The University of Queensland, Professor Tapan Saha, said:

“the E.S. Cornwall Memorial Scholarship provided an outstanding opportunity for a young engineer to learn from overseas best practice in areas of key importance to the Queensland power industry.”

The scholarship recipient receives $3,500 per month (on top of their overseas engineering salary), for up to 18 months to pursue a program of work that typically consists of employment with several overseas electricity utilities, a manufacturing company or research organisation, and could cover study for a higher degree with a leading overseas university.

The first E.S. Cornwall Scholarship was awarded in 1957 and since then, it has been awarded to a total of 26 individuals, many of whom now hold (or have held) senior positions within the electricity industry.

The scholarship took its current recipient, Matthew Zillmann (a UQ graduate working for Ergon Energy) to the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States – where he has been investigating innovative asset management practices used by leading distribution networks.

“My program has already enabled me to gain experience with UK Power Networks in London, participate in international technical forums in Europe and visit research institutions in Germany”,

Matthew says from Chicago, where he has just commenced 9 months employment with Commonwealth Edison.  He continues:

 “My experience thus far has allowed me to review the effectiveness of UK Power Network’s state-of-the-art asset management systems and evaluate their regulator’s latest RIIO incentive scheme that provides commercial drivers to UK distribution businesses.”

“The opportunity provided by the scholarship has been life changing, both professionally and personally. As I look to the opportunities and challenges ahead in my career, I hold this experience and what it has taught me in the highest regard. It already is and will continue to be one of the highlights of my career.”

Applications for the E.S. Cornwall Memorial Scholarship close on 31 July 2015.

Download the Application Form in DOC.  For further background, and reference offline, see the scholarship brochure here.


During the second quarter of my E. S. Cornwall Memorial Scholarship (1st December 2014 to the 28th February 2015) I have continued my placement with UK Power Networks based predominantly in the Engineering Standards and Assurance Team. My work during this period, which was multifaceted, included:

  • Developing an “Asset Management Manual,” which outlines how UK Power Networks manage their assets and how their systems and process are consistent with the requirements of ISO55000. This document will play a key role in UK Power Networks’ transition to and accreditation with ISO55000.
  • Documenting the Distribution Transformer model utilised in the Asset Risk and Prioritisation tool.
  • Undertaking a short placement with the Strategy and Regulation team where I was responsible for analysing and benchmarking DPCR5 and RIIO-ED1 plans across the UK’s 14 distribution license areas.

Through this experience I have continued to learn about optimising expenditure in asset management, particularly through my experience with the Asset Risk and Prioritisation tool. In addition, my experience with the Strategy and Regulation team highlighted the role of the regulator (Ofgem) in incentivising DNOs to improve efficiency and reduce cost.

My second quarterly report (PDF 1.4MB  here) provides an overview of the RIIO model’s output measures and incentives, highlighting challenges they pose for DNOs and how similar mechanisms may be utilised by the Australian Energy Regulator.

It also details my work on the “Asset Management Manual” and Asset Risk and Prioritisation tool.

I welcome any feedback on this report or my future direction.


During the first quarter of my E. S. Cornwall Memorial Scholarship (1st September to the 1st December 2014) I began work with UK Power Networks in their Engineering Standards and Assurance Team.

My core focus during this period has been on UK Power Networks’ transition from PAS55 to ISO55000 accreditation. To this end I have:

  • developed an understanding of the integration of PAS55:2008 within UKPN;
  • performed a gap analysis for the transition from PAS55:2008 to ISO55000:2014; and
  • worked with a small team of consultants from The Woodhouse Partnership Limited (TWPL) on the scoping and development of an “Asset Management Manual” for UKPN.

From my review of UK Power Networks’ asset management system I identified a number of innovative projects and systems that are targeted at enabling informed operation and investment in assets. These include:

  • The Distribution Network Visibility (DNV) project, which investigated improvements in monitoring, particularly in secondary substations, and the benefits that may be derived from improved data availability, visibility, and analysis.
  • The Asset Risk and Prioritisation (ARP) tool, an extension of the more widely known Condition Based Risk Management tool, which provides an analytical means for estimating and optimising the replacement and refurbishment of assets based on a variety of asset information.

During this quarter I have sought exposure to these systems and the value they add to asset management.

My work and resultant findings from this period are documented in my first quarterly report (PDF 2.1MB).   I welcome any feedback on this report and my future direction.


Please find attached here my final report for the E.S. Cornwall Memorial Industry Scholarship.

This report details the work undertaken during my voluntary second placement, at EA Technology, based in Capenhurst, United Kingdom during the period April 2014 to September 2014.   During this period my responsibilities have included:

  • The development and delivery of CBRM enhancements
  • The development of The Transform Model for a New Zealand distribution network company

My 12-month program was aimed at gaining exposure to Condition Based Risk Management (CBRM) developments overseas and the implementation of Publicly Available Standard (PAS) for Asset Management, PAS-55.

I would welcome the reader’s feedback on my report.


Please find (linked here) the second quarterly report for the E.S. Cornwall Memorial Industry Scholarship which is a requirement set out in the scholarship rules. This report outlines my period of  employment from 1st January 2014 to 1st
April 2014.

This quarter my responsibilities have included:

  •  The development and review of CBRM software to meet regulatory requirements.
  •  Understanding the network pricing structure and governance of DNOs.

My program consists of one six month placement at Electricity North West Limited, based in Preston, United Kingdom (now completed).

I am now moving to undertake a second placement, of my own accord, at EA Technology during the period April 2014 to October 2014.

I would welcome feedback on my report (the main body is 14 pages – with the remainder being appendices that will be of interest to various readers).


Please find (linked here) the first quarterly report for the E.S. Cornwall Memorial Industry Scholarship which is a requirement set out in the scholarship rules.

This report outlines my period of employment from 1st October 2013 to 1st January 2014.  This quarter my responsibilities have included:

  • Attending and reviewing a PAS-55 audit on best asset management standards and processes.
  • The review and implementation of the Criticality Index used in Condition Based Risk Management (CBRM) software by Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) throughout Great Britain. A DNO is equivalent to the Australian Distribution Network Service Provider (DNSP).

My program consists of one six month placement at Electricity North West Limited, based in Preston, United Kingdom. I will be undertaking a second placement, of my own accord at EA Technology during the period April 2014 to October 2014.

I would welcome your feedback and advice on the report.


Apologies from the website administrator for the delay in posting this update.

Along with Matthew Zillmann, the University of Queensland has awarded Robyn O’Connor (an asset engineer currently working with Energex) with a scholarship in the next round.  For some background to Robyn’s experience, and focus, see her LinkedIn profile.

Robyn explains her scholarship ambitions as follows:

During my E. S. Cornwall scholarship tenure I will be investigating the impact of managing asset age and condition on electricity pricing.

I hope to broaden my power industry knowledge and experience in asset management standards and Condition Based Risk Management (CBRM).

I look forward to spending time abroad to broaden my horizons and work in different electricity businesses and environments. 

We wish her well with her scholarship.




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