From FORESIGHT Climate & Energy, Watt Matters is a podcast all about the energy transition and the shift to a decarbonised economy.
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The energy transition is a big puzzle for Australia, an important player in the fossil energy world, with large coal and gas reserves. It ranks eighth highest globally for emissions per capita and first for coal power emissions per capita, according to Climate Action Tracker, an independent scientific project.
In the last few years, the country has seen a surge in solar energy as fossil fuel prices have risen, and “Teal” candidates winning elections on platforms advocating for more climate action. Despite this, it still struggles with inefficient buildings and the question of how to transform its grids.
In this week’s episode, David, Jan, and Michaela are joined by the CEO of Australia’s Energy Efficiency Council, Luke Menzel, to delve into the politics and practicalities of the country’s energy transition.
Enjoy the show.
If you have any thoughts or questions about anything that has been discussed in this week’s episode, you can reach us at our Twitter accounts:
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Listen and subscribe to Watt Matters wherever you get podcasts. Follow us on Twitter at @WattMattersPod or email us at email@example.com
Illustration: Masha Krasnova-Shabaeva.
The Energy Efficiency Council report Luke mentioned is available here.
What caught our eye this week:
Jan’s pick: Energy Monitor’s story about solar panels gathering dust in European warehouses
Michaela’s pick: The Irish government backtracking on a tweet regarding meeting consumption
Luke’s pick: Dr Ron Ben-David’s paper on Australia’s electricity market and the potential issues
Kira’s pick: Poland’s case against EU climate legislation
David’s pick: Wind-powered ships potential comeback
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Australia is a fossil fuel superpower that exports its wares to the rest of the world. But it is also ripe with clean power potential that risks going to waste if the right decisions are not made soon. Ketan Joshi joins the show to explain what Australia is doing well in the energy transition and, more importantly, where it is way off track
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
Electricity networks are buckling under the impact of increasingly frequent and severe climate events. Given the amount of climate change already locked into the atmosphere, this is an issue that will only worsen, forcing assets and infrastructure to adapt. The tools to deal with the problem are available—but it will take a lot of money and political will to avert disaster
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
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
Once carbon has been captured, the next piece of the puzzle is storing it. One option being explored in Iceland is to mineralise the carbon so it forms as solid rock below the ground—providing a more permanent storage solution. With the growth of carbon markets around the world, the finances behind this plan are also looking solid
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The reaction of the Australian government to the recent IPCC report was to reject a phase out of coal. But with research showing new wind and solar are competitive with new coal, economics, not politics, looks set to define the country’s energy mix