Over one third of all Aussies are struggling to pay for electricity, and energy prices have been rising. While Federal Budget measures might give some households short term relief, three Churchill Fellows have long term solutions for Australia that could help address soaring energy costs, clean up the energy sector, and boost energy exports which are currently lagging.
What were the findings of the Churchill Fellows?
Dr Julius Susanto from Western Australia, Dr Steven Percy from Victoria, and Bryony O’Shea from South Australia all recently returned from overseas where they gathered intelligence on energy sectors from S.Korea, US, Norway, England, Ireland, Germany, Turkey and France.
Network data transparency
Dr Julius Susanto said: “Australia is at the forefront of the clean energy transition and while it is understandable to move quickly, we still need to be mindful of the technical risks introduced by changing the dominant energy generation tech from fossil-fuel driven rotating machines to inverters powered by wind and solar. We need to develop a framework for assessing the trade-offs between technical risks, economic efficiency and the speed of transition.”
Dr Susanto is also calling for greater transparency over network data models from the companies who own and operate the electricity network. “In future, Australia’s electricity grid could draw more heavily on renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power.”
“To get there, many technical studies need to be done to ensure that a renewable-dominated system will operate stably, but there is limited access to the network data to do these. We need to open up access to this data to have as many experts working on this as possible.”
Dr Stephen Percy and Bryony O’Shea have recently returned from their Fellowships to understand hydrogen in Australia’s energy future, as well as barriers to introducing it.
Hydrogen could be the future
Dr Percy said: “In simple terms, hydrogen is a new type of energy source with a multi-billion dollar value. Global demand for hydrogen continues to rise, and Australia can become a leader in this space. Australia’s energy exports have fallen by more than 7%, but Australia could boost this by exporting hydrogen from Port Headland in WA and Gladstone in QLD.”
Bridge policy setting and progressive outcomes
Bryony O’Shea has recently returned from overseas where she researched barriers to introducing hydrogen into natural gas networks and how these can be overcome. Bryony is finalising her report, and is keen to share her findings. Bryony commented: “The research suggested a strong correlation between clear policy settings and progressive outcomes.”
Adam Davey, Chief Executive Officer of the Winston Churchill Trust commended the Fellows, saying: “With Australia’s cost of electricity increasing, Churchill Fellows offer practical solutions for decision makers, who bring benefits to the everyday Australian household.”