Key Learning Objectives
- Review the primary energy sources at our disposal now and in the future for power generation: fossil fuels (coal and natural gas), nuclear power, solar power, wind, hydro and other renewables
- Understand the basic limits to converting these sources to electricity: entropy, thermodynamic cycles, ‘density’ of the energy source
- Learn how, and at what cost, coal can remain the principal contender for electricity supply, including gasification combined cycle, stack gas cleaning, carbon capture and sequestration
- Understand the strengths and limitations of natural gas as fuel, for peaking and base load power
- Examine nuclear power’s contribution, including new-generation designs and their impacts
- Appreciate how most of our power will eventually come from the sun
Consider the implications of the electrification of road transport, the role of storage, and its implications for the supply of power
- Create a framework for comparing options for investment decisions
About the Course
The demand for electricity world-wide is likely to increase six-fold over the course of this century as people everywhere, including in the poorest regions, strive for first-world living standards.
We can’t predict just what people at century’s end will use electricity for, although it is possible to predict that electricity will replace oil and gas in transport markets.
Projecting our current energy system is manifestly unsustainable: its outlook for greenhouse gas emissions is ominous indeed. Electricity must be derived from primary energy sources without consequential greenhouse gas emissions.
In this course you will learn that it is possible to forecast and meet the world’s demand for electricity and other forms of energy sustainably. You will learn what these forecasting tools are, and how to apply them to determine the shape of the world’s energy supply infrastructures – including the technologies underwriting them, how this will evolve, and where the investment dollars will inevitably flow as a consequence of these forecasts.
The global context: energy security, price & climate change
- 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?
On-site & in-house training
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