Focus on technology welcomed by industry

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has said CSIRO will lead the development of a Low Emissions Technology Roadmap to help manage the growth of solar rooftop and wind energy.

Mr Frydenberg said the roadmap would provide information on new technologies to reduce emissions from the energy and transport sectors, and how these technologies could be deployed in Australia.

Addressing network operators and regulators at Energy Networks 2016, Mr Frydenberg said CSIRO will consult with industry stakeholders and technology experts to better understand how Australia can leverage its comparative advantages and collaborate with overseas partners to achieve a large-scale technology transformation.

Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt said the initiative will provide important information on the technologies available to help meet Australia’s 2030 target, such as renewable energy, smart grids, carbon capture and storage, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency.

Integrating renewable energy into the grid has been a key issue at Energy Networks 2016, and industry has welcomed the Federal Government’s focus on dealing with related technical challenges.

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said Australia is leading the world in the rate of intermittent renewable generation used in its grids. However, challenges relating to both capacity and power quality require careful planning.

“The Federal Government’s plan to step up efforts to meet this considerable technical challenge is welcomed. We cannot look to the rest of the world for answers,” he said.

Mr Warren said Australia’s energy industry is increasingly concerned about the risks associated with displacing firm, high emissions generation with intermittent, low emissions technologies.

“It is not a like-for-like transformation,” Mr Warren said.

“To retain confidence in the decarbonisation of the Australian grid we must retain high levels of reliability at the lowest possible cost.

“South Australia has around 41 per cent of its generation now coming from wind and solar. The pace of this renewable generation was largely unplanned.”

Acknowledging the recent closure of the state’s last brown coal generator, Mr Warren said the risks emerging from this transformation are not only about having enough power during peak times, but also about maintaining power quality 24/7.

“The technical requirements of a changing energy mix will only grow as we put more solar on rooftops and build more wind farms. So we must solve them if we are to continue the decarbonisation of the sector,” he said.

“Unlocking the most efficient way to further decarbonise our energy systems, while maintaining supply stability and power quality requires careful consideration, and today’s announcement by Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, is a step in the right direction.”