On Wednesday, 18 September 2019, German and Australian researchers in Melbourne presented their scenarios for converting the Australian energy system to renewable energy and the opportunities to export green hydrogen.
Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) investigated different scenarios for the reconstruction of the Australian energy system with the REMIX energy system model.
Working together to develop the energy transition
Two countries, two complementary opportunities: Australia with its abundant offer of wind and sun and Germany as a leading manufacturer and technological innovator for technologies of the energy transition. An ideal starting point to use the possibilities of cooperation on an Australian-German platform for the energy transition (Australian-German Transition Hub). The platform is managed by two Australian and three German institutions and is supported by a total of eight scientific partners from both countries.
The focus of the joint START project was to analyze and understand how the existing energy system needs to change so that a zero-emission energy system can emerge in Germany and Australia. Special attention was paid to the challenges, the technical possibilities, the options for political action and also the economic opportunities which both countries have to face.
In the first part of the project, the scientists developed techno-economic scenarios for the electricity sector. Key elements such as the technical feasibility of integrating high levels of wind and solar power into the existing system and linking them to the heat and transport sector were taken into account. In another module, the scientists extended this consideration to the entire energy system and included the sectors of industry, buildings, and transport. In order to reduce emissions, the necessary steps have been defined for these sectors.
Regulatory obstacles and policy options to incentivize investment in innovative technologies were the focus of the third part of the project. In the last module, the techno-economic development paths were placed in the context of social, economic and political governance of the transformation processes of energy systems.
The DLR model REMix
Four different models were used to investigate different aspects of six different future scenarios. They differ mainly in their assumptions on the scope and speed of CO2 reduction, electrification, and export of renewables and hydrogen.
With its REMix model, the DLR Institute of Technical Thermodynamics investigated two scenarios of the Australian power supply system in 2050. Among other things, the “200% Renewable Scenario” was considered.
The analyzes by the DLR scientists show that a fully renewable energy system in Australia could essentially rely on photovoltaic power generation. The cost advantage increases over time compared to wind turbines. They conclude that a 100 percent supply of solar and wind energy can be achieved by expanding flexible sector coupling, adding battery and pumped storage, and adding additional power and reserve capacity. In this scenario, no hydrogen is exported. The 200 percent renewable energy scenario reduces the challenge of integrating wind and solar systems. The electrical surplus, which is mainly generated by solar energy, can then be converted into hydrogen by electrolysis and represents the internal market.
The platform (hub) is jointly managed by the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University . In Germany, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research , the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH and the University of Münster are involved. In addition to these five core partners, the platform is supported by eight research partners: five in Australia and three in Germany,