Clean Energy Futures: An Australian Based Foresight Study
30 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2021
Date Written: 2021
Political decarbonisation commitments and outcompeting renewable electricity costs are disrupting energy systems. This foresight study prepares stakeholders for this dynamic, reactive change by examining visions that constitute a probable, plausible and possible component of future energy systems. Visions were extrapolated through an expert review of energy technologies and Australian case studies. 'Probable–Abundant' envisages a high penetration of solar and wind with increased value of balancing services: batteries, pumped hydro and transmission. This vision is exemplified by the South Australian grid, where variable and distributed sources lead generation. 'Plausible–Traded' envisages power and power fuel exports given hydrogen and high-voltage direct-current transmission advances. Australian strategies aim to leverage rich renewable resources to establish clean energy exchanges at national, and perhaps intercontinental, scales. 'Possible–Zero' envisages the application of carbon removal and nuclear technologies in response to the escalating challenge of deep decarbonisation. The Australian critical minerals strategy may signal adaptations of high-emission industries to shifting energy resource values. These visions provide a flexible, accessible framework for diverse stakeholders to discuss potential changes, and consider issues from new perspectives. Appraisal of prefered futures also allows recognition of observed changes as positive or negative and may lead to new planning aspirations.
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