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Australia’s industries are thirsty for power and its energy exporters supply a lot of the world with cheap coal and gas. But as the world changes, Australia’s way of doing business will have to as well. Long-accused of being a laggard in the shift towards green energy systems, Australia has a net-zero goal and a 2030 emissions target, but little else besides in terms of meaningful climate policies. Renewable energy investments have stalled this year, despite the country’s immense potential for clean power, and a new instrument meant to decarbonise big polluters has faced heavy criticism and been accused of greenwashing. Coal and gas dominate the domestic energy mix and there is little appetite to meet climate goals, let alone increase their ambition.
There are signs of encouragement though: a new net-zero authority aims to help chart a course for fossil fuel industries to transition their workforces and help communities survive the shift to green and thrive afterwards. Plus the very fact that Australia’s emissions problem is so heavily skewed towards power generation, means that there is a rather simple solution available.
To delve deeper into how the Land Down Under is approaching the transition and what policies are — and more importantly are not — in place, the Policy Dispatch is thrilled to welcome Ketan Joshi, an Australian analytics and communications professional who helps climate groups advance climate action.
Enjoy the show!
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A recent announcement to support offshore wind projects off the state of Victoria shows how the local government has grown tired of waiting for federal leadership on the energy transition
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Reducing the amount of energy we use is a key part of cutting emissions by 2050, but asking people to be more frugal could be challenging in a society that prizes consumption. Getting incentives right can shift attitudes
Energy losses in the production process contribute to making hydrogen produced with renewable energy expensive. Companies and researchers are working to improve the efficiency of electrolyser technology and scale it up, bringing down the green hydrogen price tag at the same time
As the amount of traditional inertia on our grid systems decreases with the shift to inverter-based resources like wind and solar photovoltaics (PV), system operators are increasingly seeking carbon-free alternatives for stabilising frequency
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The share of hydroelectric power in electricity generation is set to decrease as solar and wind come to dominate. Yet, hydropower has a crucial role to play in providing flexibility and storage for grids increasingly running on variable renewable energy resources
The cost-effectiveness and flexibility of solar photovoltaic power are leading to a raft of new energy business models to help middle- and low-income households participate in the energy transition
Corporate attempts to match every hour of consumption with renewable production could pave the way for grid decarbonisation
As the energy landscape changes, so too could the geopolitical spectrum. Nations that have derived power and wealth from coal, oil and gas face an adapt-or-die moment while countries with the natural resources central to decarbonisation could find themselves holding more cards
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The emergence of low-carbon, distributed energy systems and innovative business models in Africa could provide tips to operators on the future of grids elsewhere in developed markets
Green hydrogen's role in the energy transition is a given, but just how far and how fast the technology will spread remains up for debate
Demand for electric vehicle batteries in Europe is accelerating thanks to a mix of new regulations and promising business cases, which has sparked a homegrown industry that aims to take on the world. But the policies will need to be strong enough to fend off the vagaries of geopolitics
Analysts predict massive growth for storage systems that can provide many hours of uninterrupted power, but the sheer diversity of contenders in this field makes it hard for a dominant technology to emerge
Grids need to accommodate a host of new and variable low-carbon assets, but who should manage how they operate and what they get paid remains a thought exercise despite the changes already happening
The major economies of China and the US have identified storage capacity as an industrial priority and are redesigning their markets to incentivise growth. The rest of the world’s economies are trying to compete but will instead need to ride the pair’s coattails to benefit
On Canada's East Coast, investment and interest in green hydrogen is increasing, fueled by government policy and the promise of an energy transition at home and abroad
A lack of natural resources means accessing renewables as part of its energy transition is out of the question for Singapore. The country, renowned for its innovation, is having to think creatively to reach its goals
Case study: As renewable energy, particularly rooftop solar, continues to be rapidly adopted across Australia, power system operators are having to find new ways of managing electricity generation and supply as the level of complexity increases. Digital solutions are coming into their own
What investors and governments do with their money sets the direction of the global economy. Mainstream money was directed to fossil fuel for more than a century, leaving clean energy technologies swirling in the eddies. But during 2020 the flow of money dramatically changed course. The stream to fossil fuel slowed to a trickle and now oil and gas is at risk of being left high and dry.
In many ways, ammonia can be an important part of the energy transition and be a catalyst to accelerate the development of the hydrogen economy, says Rami Reshef, CEO at Israeli fuel cell manufacturer GenCell Energy
The multiple roles of battery energy storage can help remote or off-grid power systems stop using diesel generators. But the regulatory environment needs to adjust to spur wider adoption of these new systems, says Michael Lippert from Saft
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Five years ago, technologists excitedly started suggesting how to use blockchain for energy applications and a raft of start-ups followed, sporting distributed ledgers for the power sector. Today, the word "blockchain" is seldom heard in energy circles. While the hype may have been overblown, work continues instead on a quieter revolution to the one that was promised
Case study: The breathless furore around blockchain has died down but in some ways, the technology is still supporting the energy transition. Carbon-conscious buyers and sellers can use a distributed ledger to track where the electricity they use comes from
Developing a climate finance plan of requisite scale depends on better joined-up diplomacy by developed countries who must heed the warnings of high jeopardy, says Iskander Erzini Vernoit from think tank E3G
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Commitments to reaching net zero carbon emissions are important but the real test is moving from the “what” to the “how”. This requires a far more inclusive and holistic approach, says Jeff Connolly, CEO of Siemens Australia & New Zealand
Southeast Asia’s reliance on liquified natural gas is putting the region’s carbon reduction targets in jeopardy. But cost considerations currently outweigh environmental concerns
With the hydrogen economy gaining momentum in Europe, the industry is also stimulating interest in other regions of the world where power systems are more reliant on fossil fuels. However, green hydrogen in Southeast Asia has different questions that need answering
Two antipodean countries, two different approaches to the low-carbon transition. While New Zealand is starting to lead from the top-down, Australia still lacks clear national policies with a patchwork of approaches to decarbonisation remaining the order of the day