Khishigt TamirRecent Australia Award graduate Khishigt Tamir has been recognised internationally for his extensive knowledge of, and contributions to, the renewable energy sector.

Khishigt, who completed his Master’s Degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Renewable Energy at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia between 2009 and 2012, has been asked by a leading European academic publisher for permission to publish his thesis “Drivers and barriers to renewable energy development in rural electrification”.

The publication, expected to be available later in 2014, seeks to offer options for cost- and energy- efficient electricity supplies in rural areas.

“Because of the high cost of fuel, a centralised power supply using a diesel generator is not a promising solution for people in rural areas”, Khishigt explained.

“Renewable energy has been utilised widely in rural areas in many countries – but only in small-scale systems for individual households or single organisations –and not as a large centralised power supply at the centre of villages where the magnitude and load change are significant.”

Khishigt explains that although the operating costs of renewable energy systems are lower than for diesel-powered generators, the establishment costs for renewable energy supplies are much higher, and the technology involved is more complex.

“There are many issues – both technical and non-technical – that need to be resolved before a renewable system can operate efficiently. “

Mongolia’s first wind farm is already operating, about 70 kilometres outside Ulaanbaatar at Salkhit Mountain, and is currently providing around 3.5% of the local area’s energy consumption needs.

“The upfront costs of wind farms are high, but operating and maintenance costs are low.”

Unlike coal-fired electricity production plants which can accurately predict their supply schedule, wind-technology doesn’t allow this, so predictions have to be based on a previous year’s wind patterns.

 “Construction of a utility-sized wind farm is a completely new development in the history of Mongolian energy sector. The skills and knowledge obtained during my study in Australia are absolutely essential for proper development of new type of energy related projects, and the introduction of new technology into the energy sector in Mongolia.”

“Traditional energy sources have a ‘grid-code’ (policy) which provide their operational framework”, Khishigt said.

“But such a grid-code is still being developed for wind energy; my Masters studies in Australia have helped a lot in developing such a code.”

After his return from his scholarship Australia, Khishigt took up the position of Senior Manager in charge of Renewable energy and Energy sector projects at Newcom LLC, Mongolia. Newcom also had an interest in a clean energy company  involved in the development of the “Asian Super Grid”.

After a year with the Newcom, Khishigt was offered greater opportunities to apply his newly gained skills working solely in renewable energy – as Head of the Business Development Unit for Mon-Energy.

“Although Mon-Energy is not all that big, it has more than 10 years’ experience working in the energy sector.”

I wasn’t sure about changing jobs, but I saw it as a way of keeping my skills up to date, and taking opportunities to use my sills in a practical and realistic way.”

Khishigt remembers that he always wanted to be an engineer. “I had a dream of becoming an electronic engineer in my childhood”, Khishigt said.

“I used to repair TVs, tape recorders and radio receivers. And although I could not enrol at the Telecommunication College so I studied Engineering at the Technical College in Darkhan Province, and later on earned a Master’s Degree in Engineering in Exploitation of Thermal Power Plants at the Mongolian Science and Technology University.” 

After graduating from the Technical College, Khishigt joined the heat-only station at the Mongolian-Russian Joint Venture Erdenet Cuprum-Molibdemium Mining and Enrichment Factory in Erdenet province, located in the northern part of Mongolia.

After working for two years in Erdenet and serving with the Mongolian Army, he moved to the former Energy Authority - the Implementing Agency of the Government of Mongolia. He subsequently worked in a range of positions at the Energy Authority, the Fuel and Energy Authority, and at the Energy Regulatory Authority of Mongolia, where he took any opportunity to strengthen his knowledge of the Mongolian energy sector.

 “Before I applied for an Australia Award, I already had more than 10 years’ experiences in operation of power plants and district heating networks, construction of new energy facilities and rehabilitation projects of power plants in the energy sector, and I had also learned a lot from substantial changes and reforms being undertaken in the Mongolia energy sector. “

“I realised that my experiences and skills were limited to only conventional types of energy systems used  in Mongolia, so I decided to apply for a DFAT scholarship to expand and enrich my knowledge and skills in the renewable energy field.”

Although he struggled initially with his new life in a new environment at the beginning of his study period in Australia, he soon settled down to his studies.

“The study was a real challenge and I had a great student life in Australia. “The subjects I studied were really interesting and in line with my educational background and working experience”, Khishigt explained.

“The professors at Murdoch University were great and extensively experienced, and I learned many new things from them”, Khishigt said.  He still keeps in touch with many of them.        

During his studies, he was awarded a scholarship by the Murdoch University, associated with the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council, to prepare a report on Micro Generation Opportunities in the Southern Metropolitan Region.

“By working on the report I studied how all types of small-scale low-carbon energy (electricity and heat) generation technologies can be used at households and public organisations. ”     

According to Khishigt, Mongolia is now in a crucial stage of renewable energy development. The Government has set up plans for renewable energy to reach between 20-25% of total energy production by 2020. This is why Khishigt believes he graduated at the right time – ready for an exciting development  period in which the Government is prioritising capacity building of human resources in the energy sector.        

As well as having his thesis published by a prestigious academic publishing house, Khishigt has also delivered lectures  to engineers in several power generation plants about the approaches to renewable energy being implemented by Australia, and presented at international energy conferences.

And to make sure the next generation of engineers are fully aware of the opportunities offered by renewable energy, he has translated an existing book on renewable energy into Mongolian – for use by students at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, and by engineers locally.

Khishigt’s next major life project is to write a targeted book on renewable energy, which will have a stronger engineering focus than existing publications on the topic.

As a very successful graduate,  Khishigt is keen to ensure that others are aware just how important an Australia Award has been to him: “Australia can be very proud that it did not waste its money (on scholarships), but has made a very wise investment in the future which will be invaluable for people living in developing countries.”

“We deeply appreciate the wonderful support provided by the Australian Government. The kindness of the Australian people has really changed my life and that of other Australia Award graduates.”

“I trust that the successful scholarship program will be continued for many years into the future, and benefit many young generations of Mongolians.”

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