Australian clean energy challenges, innovations and solutions
Day 1 highlights
The first day focused on significant issues affecting the energy industry including Australia’s potential as a clean energy superpower, the politics of clean energy, and financing renewable energy development.
How do we position Australia as a global clean energy superpower? In his Plenary address, Kane Thornton, Clean Energy Council. set the stage for Australia’s clean energy future: “Our industry now stands ready to electrify Australia and establish us as a global clean energy superpower.”
Australia has faced recent energy challenges but there is a long-term pathway to provide clean, reliable, affordable energy for Australian homes and businesses explained Daniel Westerman, CEO, Australian Energy Market Operator.
On the scope and urgency of the clean energy transition, Chris Bowen, Australia’s new Energy Minister says “This is not a whole of government effort. This is a whole of society effort. We have 90 months to do it.”
In the panel discussion on Australia becoming a clean energy superpower. Angela Carl, QIC Global Infrastructure, explained the investment scale needed to transition to clean energy: “There is currently $1 trillion annually being invested in renewables globally, however we need to be investing $5 trillion annually to meet global emissions reduction targets by 2050!”
Finally, how will Australia decarbonise heavy industries? Australia’s decarbonisation efforts have been focused on electricity generation. With net zero targets to meet, Australia needs to accelerate its decarbonisation of heavy industry.
Day 2 highlights
Day two had several streams focusing on the key parts of Australia’s clean energy transition including renewable energy zones, integrating distributed energy resources into networks to enable the export of low-cost clean energy into adjacent networks, clean energy careers, and Australia’s hydrogen opportunity.
The breakfast briefing on the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap discussed the roles of government and corporates in providing clarity and on swiftly building new renewable energy generation.
Saul Griffith, author of The Big Switch for electrifying Australia, explained pathways for households and businesses to accelerate the clean energy transformation. It’s exciting to see how electrification reduces energy requirements. The blue line is the cost of solar and electric households with electric vehicles, and the black is the cost of a fossil fuel business-as-usual approach.
Energy Next 2022
Energy Next was a two day exhibition showcasing the latest solutions from clean energy and energy management companies, it was located next to the Australian Clean Energy Summit.
Energy Next also featured a Solar Masterclass from the Clean Energy Council, providing solar designers and installers with current expert advice on major design and installation issues currently facing the solar industry.
We’re talking with Nigel Morris, electric motorcycle aficionado of the first hour.
With a background in manufacturing, Nigel knew how to make things, but the world of electronics and batteries was all new to him. In the early 1990s, every single system had energy storage before grid-connected solar was a thing and Australia had a small but innovative off-grid solar industry.
A baptism of fire in how to make solar, electronics, and batteries reliable, combined with a passion for motorcycles was the perfect breeding ground for an electric motorcycle obsession.
In the early 2000’s Morris got his first ride on an electric motorcycle in the US and was instantly hooked “For the next ten years, every time I rode my motorcycle, I daydreamed of how to get all the fun without the emissions.”
No less than twelve years after his first taste of an electric motorbike, Nigel became the proud owner of a 2010 model Zero DS from California’s Zero motorcycles, a pioneer in electric motorcycling. Limited to a maximum range of around 40km the bikes were strictly inner-city commuters and short duration off-road, but renowned as fun and loaded with torque.
in 2015 he swapped his vintage Zero for a new 2014 model, a bike that could do almost 100mph, required virtually zero maintenance, and range had more than doubled to around 150km.
Long distance riding
Long-distance riding on a Zero was possible but it utilised a low voltage battery pack, with a nominal 120VDC battery, whereas DC Fast Charging has a minimum DC voltage of 300V, therefore rendering the few fast charging stations available, useless to electric motorcycle owners. From about 2017 onwards announcements and prototypes were starting to flow from well-known brands – KTM, Piaggio, Honda, BMW, and even Harley Davidson. In 2020, Morris got a phone call from a friend and fellow journalist, podcaster, and blogger Giles Parkinson who is the editor for The Driven, an EV-focused website. “Nige – Harley have invited us to go to the Australian launch of their new all-electric Harley Davidson Livewire. We assumed you might like to go and have RSVP’d for you?”
And the rest as they say is history.
Nigel never thought of himself as a potential Harley Davidson rider, but the way the Livewire looks and handles, combined with its power – 0-100 km within 3 seconds- justified the fairly heft price tag for Nigel. He now can complete a 420km zero-emissions ride in a day, demonstrating the huge difference that DC fast charging makes. And needless to say, without having to spend a dollar on fuel.
Riding without the sound
The single most common question about riding an electric bike is if one doesn’t miss the sound that has been synonymous with motorbikes ever since they came into existence. Morris: “I have a deep and visceral emotional connection between the sound of a motorcycle and the thrills that it embodies. We emotionally interpret them to be one and the same. But I have utterly re-learned this. The conventional sound of a motorcycle remains evocative, but it’s become superfluous to how I get my kicks – along with heat, vibration, and maintenance.”
Last Saturday we had electric cars, an electric motorbike, electric bicycles and electric scooters on display. Some were available to test drive as well (scooters and motorbikes for those with a licence).