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.