FACTS – a Framework for an Australian Clean Transport Strategy

I was part of a team of 18 independent experts (academics) who developed a comprehensive framework for decarbonising the Australian transport sector in a manner consistent with international best practice (eg shifting trips to public and active transport) and climate science to keep warming within 1.5d.

Below are some takeout snapshots. The full report is available at transportfacts.org and a summary was published in The Conversation.

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The clean energy revolution isn’t a techno-fix – it needs to be guided by communities’ local needs

New piece in The Conversation

Context is everything

Under the previous federal government, Australia’s approach to emissions reduction was narrow and technology-centred.

The new Labor government – elected on the promise of climate action – has the opportunity to move to a community-based approach. This should ensure any new infrastructure integrates with people’s lives, values, and aspirations.

Such an approach requires proponents and funding bodies (both government and private) to genuinely listen to communities’ needs – right from the early design stage.

If local circumstances are not considered, a trial can be plagued with problems.

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Check your mirrors: 3 things rooftop solar can teach us about Australia’s electric car rollout

“The electric vehicle transition is about more than just doing away with vehicles powered by fossil fuels. We must also ensure quality technology and infrastructure, anticipate the future and avoid unwanted outcomes, such as entrenching disadvantage.

Australia’s world-leading rollout of rooftop solar power systems offers a guide to help navigate the transition. We’ve identified three key lessons on what’s gone well, and in hindsight, what could have been done differently.”

Full piece in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/check-your-mirrors-3-things-rooftop-solar-can-teach-us-about-australias-electric-car-rollout-162085

Microgrids: how to keep the power on when disaster hits

It’s timely to consider how we can build a better system – one that’s more resilient in times of disaster and also doesn’t contribute, through carbon emissions, to making disasters more frequent.

One part of the solution is more connectedness, so one transmission line being severed is not the crisis it is now.

But just as important is ensuring connectedness isn’t crucial.

This means moving away from centralised systems – powered by a few big generators – to decentralised ones, with many local and small-scale generators. Instead of one big grid, we need many microgrids, interconnected but able to operate independently when necessary.

Full Piece in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/microgrids-how-to-keep-the-power-on-when-disaster-hits-130534

Get in on the ground floor: how apartments can join the solar boom

While there are now more solar panels in Australia than people, the many Australians who live in apartments have largely been locked out of this solar revolution by a minefield of red tape and potentially uninformed strata committees.

In the face of these challenges, Stucco, a small co-operative housing block in Sydney, embarked on a mission to take back the power. Hopefully their experiences can serve as a guide to how other apartment-dwellers can more readily go solar.

Full piece in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/get-in-on-the-ground-floor-how-apartments-can-join-the-solar-boom-79172

Owners of electric vehicles to be paid to plug into the grid to help avoid blackouts

Electric vehicles can help keep the air clean in our cities – as we’ve seen recently with the reduction of traffic through COVID-19 lockdowns – but they face two obstacles.

In the short term they’re still expensive. In the long term charging millions of vehicles from the electricity grid presents challenges.

I’m part of a new project, launched today, that tackles both of these obstacles head-on, and it could mean owners earn more money than they’re likely to pay for charging their electric vehicles.

Full piece in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/owners-of-electric-vehicles-to-be-paid-to-plug-into-the-grid-to-help-avoid-blackouts-132519