Finding the way to zero-carbon energy

German and Australian researchers are seeking opportunities in transition.

Moving away from fossil fuels is challenging, but it also presents huge opportunities. At the Energy Transition Hub, more than 140 Australian and German researchers are working together to tackle the social and technical challenges and take advantage of the trade and export opportunities.

The Hub’s projects assess technology, regulations, policies and economics to find “energy transition pathways” for the two countries, and at the same time explore how trade and industry can increase the benefits from these pathways.

Recent projects from Hub researchers include OpenNEM, a website that shows what’s happening in Australia’s National Electricity Market, including simple, real-time visualisations and basic analytical tools to inform the national discussion about Australia’s energy system; and the Global Pumped Hydro Atlas that maps 530,000 sites around the world with potential for pumped hydro energy storage.

The core institutions of the Hub are the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the University of Münster and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, with support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

According to Rebecca Burdon, the Hub’s Managing Director in Australia based at the University of Melbourne, the Hub allows international collaboration between researchers, government, community and industry.

“Where the Energy Transition Hub really adds value is in building deep and broad working links with industry, civil society and governments around the complex issues of energy, and in using the tools and lessons that can only come from strong bilateral collaboration between Germany and Australia.”

Banner image: The Tumut-3 pumped hydro power station. Credit: ARENA