Large scale export of renewable energy

In Progress

Large scale export of renewable energy from Australia is possible in several forms, including electricity via undersea high voltage DC (HVDC) cables, processed materials (notably iron rather than iron oxide) and synthetic fuels (including hydrogen, ammonia and hydrocarbons manufactured using CO2 from air-capture and hydrogen from water splitting). Australia has an immense solar and wind energy resource, and is well-placed to become a major player in sustainable energy markets. Solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind energy are by far the largest and lowest cost clean energy technologies, and constitute half of new generation technology deployed worldwide each year, and virtually all new generation technology being deployed in Australia each year.

This work explores the potential for Australia to replace exports of gas and coal with exports of PV and wind energy in all its forms. The study focusses on the Pilbara region, but will be generally applicable to all of northern Australia.

The Pilbara region of Western Australia has one of the best solar resources in the world as well as excellent wind resources and extensive opportunities for pumped hydroelectricity storage (PHES). The Pilbara is also the largest iron ore exporting region in the world. This project examines opportunities in the Pilbara for very large scale renewable energy utilisation and export on both short and long time scales. The purpose of the project is to elucidate a visionary approach to both near- and long-term renewable energy opportunities in northern and western Australia.

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