Professor John Foster and Dr Liam Wagner from the Energy Economics and Management Group will collaborate with the University of Sydney, University of Newcastle and University of NSW on a three-year project to provide a suite of tools and models to plan and manage the future grid.
Professor Foster said UQ would use its $607,000 share of the CSIRO Future Grid Flagship Cluster funding to explore the economic impact of investments in renewable energy, such as solar, wind and geothermal electricity, on the national electricity market.
“The transition to a lower emissions technology base will require significant structural and economic reforms to the electricity market,” he said.
“Our economic and investment models for future grids research will use economic modelling to predict the impact of renewable energy sources on transmission systems, as well as the additional cost of investment in these networks,” he said.
A key focus will be the forecasting of price levels and volatility of the electricity market if it is supplemented with renewable sources.
Dr Wagner said wholesale market electricity prices may affect the retail market price for consumers.
“We will provide an economic analysis platform including a cost analysis framework to predict market behaviour and the future price of electricity and natural gas,” he said.
Professor Foster and Dr Wagner’s research will build transmission and distribution network investment models to investigate future electricity grids and deliver scenario modelling via optimisation models such as game theory.
It will enable decision-makers in the energy sector to make better-informed decisions about electricity transmission and generation.
Their research will also investigate market simulation platforms for natural gas infrastructure and the effect of electric and hybrid vehicles on power delivery, as well as on the transmission system.
The University of Sydney will provide modelling for the future Australian electricity grid to 2050, including grid power flows, stability implications, security and resilience to changing technologies.
The University of Newcastle will build on these outcomes and investigate co-optimisation of the electricity and natural gas networks.
The University of NSW Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets will produce a unifying policy analysis and framework of value to government and industry stakeholders.
The final outcome for Australia will be the ability to identify low-cost methods for integrating large and small scale renewable energy sources into the current grid to ensure future emissions reductions.
Energy Economics and Management Group: www.uq.edu.au/eemg