Techno-economic modelling of the Australian energy system

While there are major discussions about transitioning towards a low-carbon electricity system, less attention has been given to the need to decarbonise the whole Australian energy system. This requires addressing the critical role of other energy sectors such as heating/cooling and transport, as well as interactions with the gas sector and other potential energy vectors such as hydrogen.

The aim of this project is thus to develop a “multi-energy systems” view of Australia, supported by a techno-economic operational model that can also support whole-system planning. Different technologies and opportunities across different sectors will be considered, including, in particular, the possibility of providing different forms of energy storage coming from different sectors. These include the role of buildings and industrial processes to provide virtual storage from thermal inertia, the possibility of using the gas network as long-term store of hydrogen coming from renewables-based electrolysis, decarbonisation of transport through electric and hydrogen vehicles that could represent a further form of energy storage, and so forth. Both operational and infrastructure technical and economic aspects will be taken into account, so that a full cost-benefit analysis of different options to decarbonise the whole energy system could finally be carried out.

Pierluigi Mancarella got his MSc (2002) and PhD (2006) degrees in Electrical Engineering (Power Systems) from the Politecnico di Torino, in Italy. However, he is originally from Salento, the tip of the heel of the Italian ‘boot’. During his PhD he was also a visiting student at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway, in 2004. After getting his PhD, Professor Mancarella worked as a Research Fellow for one and half year in Torino, and then moved to Imperial College London where he was a Research Associate from January 2008 to April 2011. During his appointment in Manchester, Pierluigi was also a Visiting Professor at Ecole Centrale de Lille, France, in June 2013, May 2014, and May 2016, a Visiting Professor at the Universidad de Chile, Santiago, in January 2015, and a Visiting Researcher at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), Golden, Colorado, in August 2015. He has been teaching for several years ‘Power Systems Operation and Economics’ and ‘Smart Grid and Sustainable Electricity Systems’ in both the Electrical Power Systems Engineering (EPSE) and Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (ReaCT) MSc courses.