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UQ-UTS team helps electricity providers plan for climate change

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UniQuest’s Consulting and Research Division has facilitated a contract for University of Queensland (UQ) and University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) researchers to collaborate on a climate change project, which will identify ways that power generation and supply networks can maintain services in various climatic situations.

UniQuest is UQ’s main commercialisation company as well as a commercialisation partner of UTS.

A multidisciplinary team from UQ’s Energy Economics and Management Research Group and UTS’s Centre for Energy Policy will investigate the ‘Vulnerability of the power generation and supply network infrastructure under climate change scenarios’, aiming to increase knowledge about the potential consequences of rising average temperatures and extreme heat events on electricity infrastructure.

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), established in 2007 by the Australian Government has provided $420,000 in funding to complete the 18-month research program.

This collaborative research project will examine the adaptive capacity of existing institutional arrangements in the National Electricity Market (NEM) to existing and predicted climate change conditions. Key analyses will focus on climate change impacts on the reliability in the NEM under various scenarios and the strategies needed by the power generation and supply network infrastructure to cope with climate change.

The research will also analyse case studies from all major electricity regions to help determine the impact that climate change and extreme weather events might have on local infrastructure and service delivery, and how effectively the existing infrastructure and generating capacity could adapt to change.

The existing UQ models replicate the NEM and the new research will also include the effects of renewable energy generation options. The UTS models will analyse the impacts of the water-energy nexus for these options.

According to UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, the Australian government, the power generation industry and the universities involved will all benefit from this collaborative approach to understanding the economic impact of future climatic conditions.

He explains that the return on investment in the research will help governments with their policy and fiscal decision-making, adding that a better understanding of consumer behaviour during extreme weather events will help the power generation industry adapt to changes in demand for electricity and make appropriate infrastructure investment decisions.

Additionally, the research project is an opportunity for UQ and UTS researchers to contribute directly to addressing global issues through the transfer of knowledge and skills.

Key members of the project team:  

  • Professor John Foster (Professor of Economics, UQ Faculty of Business, Economics, Law & Tourism; Program Leader, UQ Global Change Institute)
  • Professor Deepak Sharma (Director, UTS Centre for Energy Policy)
  • Professor John Quiggin (ARC Federation Fellow, UQ Faculty of Business, Economics, Law & Tourism; UQ Global Change Institute)
  • Dr Liam Wagner (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, UQ Faculty of Business, Economics, Law & Tourism)
  • Mr Craig Froome (Program Manager – Clean Energy, UQ Global Change Institute)
  • Dr Suwin Sandu (Researcher, UTS Centre for Energy Policy)
This article is presented by Ferret - www.ferret.com.au.

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