Researchers outline cost efficient pathway to renewable energy in Australia

Professor Derek Abbott

Groundbreaking paper published in a prestigious Journal

Professor Derek Abbott at the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering has been published in the prestigious journal, PNAS Nexus, for a paper delving into the path toward achieving near-100% renewable energy in Australia. This paper is the culmination of three years of careful research.

In his previous work, Professor Abbott excluded Western Australia (WA) due to its status as the “Texas” of Australia — a region disconnected from the national grid. However, the current paper considers the economic utility of connecting WA to the grid.

According to this innovative research, an 82% renewable grid would necessitate a fourfold increase in storage power capacity and a threefold increase in energy capacity. The estimated investment required for a near-100% renewable grid is approximately A$130–150 billion, equivalent to 8–10% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Importantly, the methodology presented in this study can be adapted for other countries, making it relevant to energy policy researchers worldwide. Additionally, there remain unexplored avenues for cost reduction.

Congratulations to the fantastic team at the University of Adelaide including: Raheel Ahmed Shaikh, David Vowles, Dr Alex Dinovitser and Dr Andrew Allison. With thanks to Dr Ali Pourmousavi Kani and Associate Professor Wen Soong for useful discussions.

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