Planning an all-electric ACT

Tuesday, 05 December, 2023

Planning an all-electric ACT

Experts at the Australian National University (ANU) are forming a detailed plan for the ACT’s transition to an all-electric economy.

Covering a range of measures, such as electric cars and heating, energy storage and the electrification of industry, the study will explore how cities like Canberra can achieve net zero emissions in a reliable and affordable way.

As well as providing insights for the ACT’s energy transition, the resulting guide will also be a template for the rest of the country, according to project lead Dr Bin Lu.

“Canberra is a national leader in the renewable energy transition. Things are happening much faster here than the rest of Australia,” Lu said.

“Our target — net zero by 2045 — is five years ahead of the national target, so there’s a real opportunity for the rest of the states and territories to learn from the ACT’s experience.”

Lu and his team will develop detailed modelling for the electrification of ACT suburbs.

As well as looking at household and industrial electrification, the researchers will examine the energy storage needed to support this transition.

“We’ll be working on data that shows how distributed energy storage resources (DER) — things like electric car batteries, neighbourhood batteries and hot water storage — can play a big role,” Lu said.

“We’ll also aim to develop geographic information system (GIS)-based maps of these resources. GIS modelling will shed light on the geographic distribution of Canberra’s distributed energy storage resources.”

The co-investigator on the project, ANU Associate Professor Marnie Shaw, also emphasised the vital role of strategically deployed DER in maintaining grid stability and reducing peak energy demand, as outlined in the ACT Government’s Powering Canberra report.

“We will develop an integrated approach to support electrification and renewable energy integration through high-resolution simulations,” she said.

The researchers have been awarded the 2023 Icon Water and ActewAGL Endowment Fund to support their work.

Image credit: Edwards

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