Creating a new export market out of Australia's renewable energy advantage
Direct replacement of Australia's coal and LNG exports with a renewable energy alternative can be hard to grasp. After all, you can't put the sun or the wind on a ship, can you? One feasible export pathway does just that in the form of hydrogen, produced by electrolysis of seawater and delivered to markets already familiar with Australia as a reliable supplier of sea-borne energy.
Power can come from specially built wind and solar farms near the sea, or maybe a smart option is to produce hydrogen from grid power during times of excess renewable energy generation – this has the extra benefits of preventing waste and helping the grid operator to balance supply and demand.
Another hydrogen pathway uses ammonia NH3 as the transport medium, a much easier substance to manage in liquid form. This would give the receiving market fantastic flexibility to produce electricity, liquid fuels, and fertiliser all at the same time. Creating such an industry would also have important implications for our own liquid fuel supply – presently a strategic vulnerability for which we have no apparent plan.
Is there also a no-moving-parts solution to connect electricity grids directly under the sea? This turns out to be a credible technical stretch using today's technology. High-voltage direct-current transmission integrated with energy storage can mobilise northern Australia's solar resource to make a secure, dispatchable power station in the Java grid, where it might complement the unmatched local geothermal resources. This export pathway opens up a deep strategic partnership with Indonesia to create a regional energy market, and launch it into an emissions-free future.
This talk is part of a series of expert talks run in partnership with EnergyLab and Freshwater Group. These events will be held at EnergyLab on the third Tuesday night of the month. Doors will open at 5:30pm and the talk will run between 6pm and 7pm. Drinks and snacks will be provided.