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Course Outline

The global context: energy security, price & climate change

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  • Global energy demand, trends and projections - the growing importance of end-user choices
  • The major energy vectors - oil, natural gas, coal, uranium and electricity
  • Energy security concerns about emerging flow constraints in oil and natural gas
  • Climate change concerns about fossil fuels

Electricity & other energy carriers used in the stationary energy sector

  • The electricity and natural gas industries - their characteristics, interactions and changing roles
  • Links between the stationary energy sector and transport such as electric vehicles
  • Other possible options: hydrogen and the hydrogen economy

How costs evolve over time

  • Ways to express costs: fixed, variable, full and marginal
  • The experience effect
  • The concept of value-added
  • Ways to express trends and uncertainties in future costs - distributions, scenarios, portfolios

The fossil fuel & nuclear energy resource & technology portfolios

  • Fossil fuels: coal, petroleum and natural gas - resources and technologies
  • Meeting the sustainability challenge for fossil fuels: cogeneration, trigeneration and CCS
  • Nuclear energy - resources and technologies
  • Meeting the sustainability and security challenges for nuclear energy - radioactive waste disposal and nuclear weapon proliferation
  • Longer-term options - fusion and alternative fission fuels & technologies

The renewable energy resource & technology portfolio

  • Solar energy, PV and solar thermal
  • Biomass and its applications in the stationary energy sector
  • Hydro power - large & small scale
  • Wind energy
  • Geothermal energy
  • Ocean energy

Comparing the resource & technology options

  • What are the key technical, cost, social and environmental characteristics of each resource and technology option?
  • How might these characteristics change over time?
  • What issues are involved in integrating the various resource and technology options into the electricity and gas industries?

Where will the investment dollars come from & where will they go?

  • How do societies make decisions about the stationary energy sector?
  • What is the climate change challenge and how should it be addressed?
  • What decisions should governments take and what should be left to the private sector?
  • How does the present Australian context rate against these criteria compared to other countries?

Summary: the big picture

  • What is the current global and Australian context for the stationary energy sector?
  • What are the likely developments in the next decade?
  • What are the implications for governments, companies and individuals?

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