A map to guide the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)’s transition to an all-electric economy will be developed by experts at The Australian National University (ANU).   

It will show how cities like Canberra can achieve net zero emissions in a reliable and affordable way.   

According to project lead, Dr Bin Lu, the study will provide a template for the rest of the country. 

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

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

This means looking at everything from electric cars and heating, to electrifying industry.  

“We will also need energy storage to support this transition,” Dr Lu said.  

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

“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 research will provide valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities in transitioning to net zero emissions by 2045.   

“As outlined in the ACT Government’s Powering Canberra report, the strategic use of distributed energy resources will play a vital role in maintaining grid stability and reducing peak energy demand,” co-investigator on the project, ANU Associate Professor Marnie Shaw, said.  

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

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

The Icon Water and ActewAGL Endowment Fund was established in 2009 with an equal donation from Icon Water and ActewAGL.

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