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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    University of Melbourne

    Location

    Melbourne, Victoria

    ARENA Program

    Emerging Renewables Program

  • Start Date

    June 2012

    Status

    Past

  • Project Partners
    University of NSW, Australian Energy market Operator, Bureau of Meteorology, GE and Market Reform
    This renewables project was completed on 1 April 2017.

Summary

This project is developing a software tool that links together weather variability, renewable and fossil technologies, transmission and economic market models, in many hundreds of thousands of combinations, to find the most affordable ways to significantly increase the use of renewable energy in the electricity system.

Need

To achieve a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, fossil fuel-based electricity generation will need to be replaced with renewable energy sources such as wind, solar photovoltaics, concentrating solar, wave, biomass and hydro power or by capturing carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-based power stations as well as reducing demand for electricity through efficiency measures.

No single technology can deliver the required emission cuts, meaning a low carbon emission energy system will require a mix of technologies. Each technology has benefits and disadvantages, making it difficult to decide how much of each should be used to achieve the most cost effective reduction in emissions.

Any such decision will need to consider a number of factors including: the cost of building and operating different renewable energy technologies; the extent to which renewable energy production varies with the weather; how effectively electricity can be stored; and the cost of transmission.

The decision will also need to take into account changes in demand for electricity and the differing levels of renewable energy generated over timescales of seconds to decades.

Project innovation

The project is developing a software tool that incorporates these factors into a model of low to medium complexity allowing many hundreds of thousands of combinations of technologies to be tested to find the most affordable ways to significantly increase the use of renewable energy in the electricity system.

The software tool will assist the decision-making process by linking together weather variability, renewable and fossil technologies, transmission and economic market models to help identify the likely least cost solutions.

Benefit

By testing different sets of assumptions about technology costs, the software tool will help to identify options for Australia to move towards a low carbon energy system.

The project researchers have made the model open-source so that it will be available to the wider research community to use and further develop.

Last updated
29 January 2021
Last updated 29 January 2021
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