Award-winning map pinpoints Australia’s renewable potential

Hand typing on laptop with interactive map tool of Australia on screen
The interactive online mapping tool developed by Monash and Geoscience Australia

Companies looking at green hydrogen or steel projects in regional Australia will have access to a free online map to speed investment decisions.

An award-winning online tool for rapid economic modelling of potential resource development projects in Australia has been extended to include green hydrogen, iron and steel.

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Developed as part of the Australian Government’s Exploring for the Future program, the Economic Fairways Mapper helps identify economic potential for resources projects around Australia.

The map, which also identifies potential investment hurdles, technical challenges and knowledge gaps, now allows users to focus on the regional availability of renewable energy and evaluate how renewable energy performance will influence costs in iron and steelmaking across Australia.

By analysing large volumes of renewable energy data to model the costs of steel production and how these vary spatially, the mapper can provide valuable insight into the economics of building a green steel industry in different regions of Australia.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King, said that the mapper was a remarkable piece of technology that provides practical outcomes helping the resources sector understand the renewable energy potential of regions and inform decisions about the best place to invest.

“The Economic Fairways Mapper is another way the Australian Government is forging ahead on the road to net zero,” Minister King said.

“Tools like these are vital to attracting much-needed investment, particularly in regional areas.”

Created by Monash University and Geoscience Australia, the Economic Fairways Mapper has already won the Australian Museum’s Eureka Prize for Innovative Research in Sustainability.

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Monash University deputy director of Resources Engineering Dr Stuart Walsh said the real benefit of the mapper was its ability to provide regional assessments of the economic potential for new green iron and steel projects.

“Using these methods in place of conventional iron and steel production has the potential to eliminate significant amounts of global greenhouse gas emissions,” Dr Walsh said.

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