Feature on ABC TV Catalyst program – a childhood dream

ABC TV’s Catalyst program was one of my favorite TV shows growing up, so it was a bit of a dream to get to be a part of the recent episode about the transformation of the electricity system.

The episode did a fantastic job, covering a huge range of the interesting developments underway across the system and the country, explaining the crucial facts and trends, and presenting everything in interesting, engaging and understandable ways.

So, I’d highly recommend giving watching here https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/the-grid-powering-the-future/13491654

Episode synopsis below.

Energy scientist Dr Niraj Lal travels across the country to see what work is being done to harness green energy, to power our future reliably — and keep Australia’s lights on.  

Our continent is rich in renewable resources. We’re bathed in sun, have plenty of wind and there’s no shortage of waves, yet 75% of our electricity is still produced by burning coal and gas. More than a third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity, and it’s having a devastating impact on our climate.  

But right now, we’re in the middle of an energy revolution. As renewables grow rapidly the grid is evolving, bringing new challenges and opportunities. Nij visits a power station north of Adelaide to see how gas turbines derived from aircraft are supporting renewable technologies as they enter the grid. In remote South Australia, Nij climbs over 90 metres to the top of a wind turbine and learns how it can contribute to the grid even when the wind isn’t blowing, thanks to Australia’s largest battery.   

He travels to Flinders Island, Tasmania, to see how a microgrid — an independent energy system that can use multiple sources of renewable energy combined with a battery — is drastically reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and risk of blackouts. And ANU researcher Dr Bjorn Sturmberg shows Nij how electric vehicles and rooftop solar panels are paving the way towards a more distributed and localised grid we can all have more control over. 

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