The Climate & Energy College is an international team of early career researchers. The College conducts climate and energy systems research in an interdisciplinary environment, advancing knowledge and informing responses to the complex challenges of climate change.
We are a world-class research hub located at the University of Melbourne collaborating with leading Australian and German research institutions. Our research is centred on Climate Change and Energy Transitions.
News & Upcoming Events
Scaling up green hydrogen supplyMCF Academy & Australian-German Climate & Energy College Alumni NetworkWednesday, 30 November 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Green hydrogen from renewable electricity and derived electrofuels can replace fossil fuels in applications where direct electrification is infeasible. While this makes them crucial for climate neutrality, rapidly scaling up supply is critical and challenging. Here we analyse potential expansion pathways of electrolysers, using a probabilistic model of S-shaped technology diffusion. We find that even if electrolysis capacity grows as fast as wind and solar power (the growth-rate champions) green hydrogen supply will remain scarce in the short term and uncertain in the long term. Despite initial exponential growth, green hydrogen likely (≥75%) supplies <1% of final energy through 2030 (2035) in the EU (globally). By 2040, a breakthrough to higher shares is more likely, but large uncertainties prevail with an interquartile range of 3.2-11.2% (EU) and 0.7-3.3% (globally). Both short-term scarcity and long-term uncertainty impede investment in hydrogen end-uses and infrastructure, reducing green hydrogen’s potential and jeopardising climate targets. However, historic analogues suggest that emergency-like policy measures could foster substantially higher growth rates. This would be required to keep the ambitious 2030 EU hydrogen target within reach and increase the likelihood of future hydrogen availability in the EU and globally.Speaker:Doctoral Researcher in the Energy Systems Group at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Adrian Odenweller is a doctoral researcher in the Energy Systems Group at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and a PhD candidate at the Technical University of Berlin. His research focuses on the role of hydrogen and electrification in climate change mitigation scenarios. Adrian holds degrees in Climate Science (M.Sc), Physics (B.Sc.) and Economics (B.Sc.) from the Universities of Hamburg and Cologne. Previously, he was a research assistant at the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, a visiting researcher at the University of Cambridge, and a trainee at the European Central Bank.
How is the German Energiewende going? Insights from the Open Energy TrackerMCF Academy & Australian-German Climate & Energy College Alumni NetworkFriday, 25 November 2022 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Germany is planning to re-vitalize its Energiewende. Already in their coalition agreement of November 2021, the parties of the "traffic light" coalition set themselves a range of ambitious targets for the German energy sector. The German government has added several specific goals, especially for the increased use of renewable energy sources and various sector coupling options such as heat pumps, electric vehicles, and green hydrogen. In this presentation, I will give an overview of the most important targets, recent trends, and the need to accelerate the transition. The Open Energy Tracker is an open data platform we created at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) to keep track of the energy transition. Most indicators show a large gap between the current status and government targets for 2030. This gap is particularly large for installed electrolysis capacity, the stock of battery-electric cars, and public charging points. I also compare the current pace of the transition to what is needed to reach national targets, and how the government's targets compare with the results from long-term decarbonization scenario studies.
The Open Energy Tracker can be found here: https://openenergytracker.org/en/Speaker:Deputy Head of the Department of Energy, Transportation, Environment at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)
Wolf-Peter Schill is the deputy head of the Department Energy, Transportation, Environment at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and leads the research area “Transformation of the Energy Economy”. His research focuses on renewable energy integration, energy storage, electric mobility, and other sector coupling strategies. His methodological focus is on open-source power sector modeling. At DIW Berlin, he works in various research projects with grants from German federal ministries and the European Commission.
Introducing a tool to evaluate variable renewable energy droughtsMCF Academy & Australian-German Climate & Energy College Alumni NetworkWednesday, 23 November 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Variable renewable energy sources (VRE) are pivotal for decarbonizing energy systems. With increasing VRE deployment, variability issues driven by extreme weather events become more pronounced. Long-lasting periods of very limited VRE availability (‘VRE droughts’) add pressure to renewable energy systems, especially in times of peak demand. Given the dependence on weather conditions, VRE droughts are not limited to a specific region but vary largely across space and time. In this talk, I will discuss distinct definitions of VRE droughts and introduce a novel tool for systematic evaluation. Based on preliminary results of a European and Australian case study, I will discuss key indicators, e.g., duration, frequency, and cross-regional correlation. Insights illustrate the crucial and challenging aspects of resilient renewable energy systems and their role in robust energy systems modeling and planning.Speaker:Research Associate of the Department of Energy, Transportation, Environment at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)
Martin Kittel is a research associate at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) as well as a Ph.D. candidate at the DIW Berlin Graduate Center and Berlin Technical University. His research focuses on the model-based analysis of the decarbonization of European electricity markets and the role of flexibility options for the integration of variability renewable energy. Martin holds degrees in Business Management (M.Sc.) and Business Administration and Economics (B.Sc.) from Dresden Technical University, and spent two semesters at Teesside University in the UK.
International Roundtable on Achieving Positive Social and Economic Outcomes in the Energy Transition
This document is a summary of the discussions held at the International Roundtable on Achieving Positive Social and Economic Outcomes in the Energy Transition on 17 February 2022. This Roundtable was co-hosted by The Next Economy and Melbourne Climate Futures at the University of Melbourne, with support from the Strategic Partnerships for Implementation of the Paris Agreement, and brought...
Launch of the EU-AU Building and Appliance Efficiency ReportAustralian-German Climate & Energy CollegeThursday, 17 March 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
European Union and Australian institutional structures, past policy measures and present policy approaches related to building and appliance energy and climate response have much in common, and important differences. Both the similarities and differences provide fertile ground for increased future research collaboration.
Both the EU and Australia face challenges in dramatically scaling up action to cut carbon emissions associated with appliances and buildings, as well as adapting to more extreme climate conditions and managing equitable transitions. Both have substantial stocks of existing buildings and equipment that will maintain high levels of emissions unless operating efficiency is optimised and/or they are renovated or replaced. Climates and availability of renewable energy vary widely across both regions.
At this event, Alan Pears and Rosalinda Bustamante launched the ‘Building and Appliance Energy Efficiency Report: Opportunities for EU-Australian Collaboration’, which is available here.Speaker:
Alan Pears AM is a Fellow at the Climate and Energy College and a Senior Industry Fellow at RMIT, where he taught for many years. He has worked in the energy field since the late 1970s, mainly on demand side issues and has played key roles in development of several Australian energy efficiency and climate abatement programs across all sectors, including appliance and building efficiency and industry/business energy management. In recent years, he has worked with the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity, framing and applying the ‘value chain’ approach to energy productivity for the refrigerated cold chain, food processing and application of high temperature heat pumps. He has evaluated urban carbon strategies with the Asia Pacific Economic Community, and has worked with several Australian communities on low carbon strategies. Alan advises business, governments and communities.
Rosalinda is in her final year of the Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne and has a degree in law and business. She has worked in the areas of sustainability, climate change, environmental law, and finance. She has led different community engagement projects in the international youth climate movement since 2014.
Digitalization and Sustainability: How is Digital Finance affecting the sustainable development arena?Australian-German Climate & Energy CollegeTuesday, 15 March 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
It has become increasingly apparent that leaders at the local and subnational level must think outside the box in order to match the results of past performance and simultaneously adapt to accelerating changes. From the Covid-19 global pandemic to social justice issues relating to the climate crisis, decision makers are under increasing pressure to respond quickly and effectively to challenges whilst proactively mitigating against the consequences.
This is where digitization and digital innovation enter the scene.
Digitalization and digital innovation are transforming the current landscape of sustainability and climate action, and have the potential to create even more change in the coming years. Meaning the integration of digital technologies into everyday life to change the way all of us interact and live, digitalization should work hand in hand with sustainability and be leveraged in multiple sectors.
What does this mean in practice? An increase in data facilitates increased precision for reporting and monitoring our current situation, and accurately predicting future trajectories so leaders can make more informed decisions at the local level. Digital innovation can also encourage behavior change via micro-rewards enabled through Blockchain technology. In addition, collecting data from communities through a bottom-up approach enhances the citizen-science interface and provides valuable information that reflects the real time functioning of a city.
Against this backdrop, Pourya Salehi presents the impacts of digital innovation on the domain of finance. We have entered an era of exciting new funding mechanisms, which is a catalyst for mobilizing other essential resources needed for climate action. As said by the UN Secretary General, “digital technologies which are revolutionizing financial markets can be a game changer in reaching our shared objectives”. Pourya’s presentation explores citizen-centric financial systems and examines the benefits this has for both community members and local governments.Speaker:
As the Senior Research Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat, Pourya has an educational background in urban planning and management, land management, Blockchain technology, and finance, along with a decade worth of experience in sustainable development gained from working at consultancies in addition to research institutes. Pourya was the lead of the organization in the development of ICLEI's Global Research Strategy in 2019; a strategic document that guides the organization’s research and innovation activities including project acquisition, while building partnerships with leading research and innovation partners across the globe. From this, Pourya has been leading the execution of the Global Research Strategy and coordinating it across ICLEI’s 20+ international offices.
In addition to managing, coordinating, and overseeing several research and innovation projects over the past years, Pourya is also an accomplished author on various knowledge products including a number of peer-reviewed publications on a wide range of topics. This experience has been instrumental in Pourya becoming one of the founding members of the Global Covenant of Mayors' Research & Innovation Technical Working Group (GCoM’s R+I TWG), in addition to other research and innovation related spaces such as the Scientific Steering Committee for UNCCD’s Global Land Outlook (GLO) 2.0, and a member of Partners' Network Organizing Committee for the renowned Innovate4Cities Conference which was co-organized by UN-Habitat and GCoM and co-sponsored by the IPCC to build on the 2018 Edmonton Cities and Climate Change Science Conference and the resulting Global Research and Action Agenda (GRAA). He is also one of the co-authors of the Updated Global Research and Action Agenda for Cities on Cities and Climate Change Science. More recently, the Strategic Advisory Committee of the Global Covenant of Mayors appointed Pourya as the Global Co-Chair of GCoM's Research & Innovation Technical Working Group which, along with other responsibilities, guides and oversees the implementation of GCoM's Innovate4Cities initiative.
National climate policy after the 2022 Australian national election: What might we expect?Australian-German Climate & Energy CollegeTuesday, 1 March 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Australia has long been a climate policy laggard among developed countries. The Morrison Coalition Government has done nothing to improve this record, as highlighted by its performance at the Glasgow COP in 2021. Indeed during the period from 2014 through to the present – under successive Coalition governments (Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison) – national climate policy has been marked first by climate policy reversals and then inaction both in terms of proclaimed ambition and policy. Meanwhile, since its loss in 2019, Labor has remained quiet on this contentious issue. And yet, paradoxically, during this period, Australia’s greenhouse emissions have continued to drop.
Australians will go to the polls in May this year. This seminar will speculate about the possible role of climate policy in the 2022 national election campaign, and will consider possible climate policy scenarios – in the context of the ‘performance paradox’ – for the period which follows.
This event has been organised with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.Speaker:
Robyn Eckersley is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in Political Science at the University of Melbourne and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. She has published widely in the fields of environmental political theory, politics and the state; ecology and democracy; international relations; and global environmental governance, with a special focus on the ethics, politics and governance of climate change. Her recent books include Special Responsibilities: Global Problems and American Power (2012, co-author); Globalization and the Environment (2013) (co-authored with P. Christoff) and The Oxford Handbook of International Political Theory (2018) (co-edited with C. Brown.
Peter Christoff is a Senior Research Fellow with the Melbourne Climate Futures Initiative, and an honorary Associate Professor in the School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, at the University of Melbourne. His research and publications focus on Australian and international environmental and climate politics and policy. In addition he has served on various climate-related policy bodies, including the Victorian Premier's Climate Change Reference Group the Victorian Ministerial Reference Council on Climate Change Adaptation, and was also the Assistant Commissioner for the Environment in Victoria.
EU-Australia Knowledge Network: Wrap-Up EventsAustralian-German Climate & Energy CollegeTuesday, 22 February 2022 - 5:30pm to Thursday, 24 February 2022 - 7:00pm
Join us for a series of wrap-up events for the EU-Australia Knowledge Network.
Wrap-up Day 1: Highlights of the EU-Australia Knowledge Network and a summary of the ‘Buildings and Energy Efficiency’ project
Tuesday 22 February 2022, 5:30pm-7:00pm AEDT
Following an introduction in the SPIPA program, we will present highlights from the Network’s seminars and activities.
Alan Pears and Rosalinda Bustamante will then present a summary of their research on Buildings and Appliances Energy Efficiency in Australia and the EU, including comparisons of the governance and regulatory frameworks between Australia and the EU, linkages with just transitions and circular economies, and areas for potential collaboration between the EU and Australia.
Wrap-up Day 2: The Regional Energy Transition and Launch of the EU-AU Energy Affordability Report
Wednesday 23 February 2022, 5:30pm-7:00pm AEDT
Our first presentation will be from Dr Amanda Cahill (CEO of The Next Economy) discussing the similarities and differences between fossil-fuel reliant communities in Australia and the EU, and lessons learned in facilitating a just transition for these communities.
After Amanda’s presentation, Johanna Cludius, David Ritter and Viktoria Noka from Öko-Institut and Dr Sangeetha Chandra-Shekeran from the University of Melbourne will launch their report ‘Energy Affordability: Sharing Lessons from the EU and Australia’s Low Carbon Transitions’. This will cover both a comparison of electricity prices between Australia and the EU, and different models of hardship protection for vulnerable groups between the two jurisdictions. This report is available here.
Wrap-up Day 3: Health co-benefits from climate action, lessons from the EU Taxonomy, and next steps for the EU-Australia Knowledge Network
Thursday 24 February 2022, 5:30pm-7:00pm AEDT
This event will include two research presentations. First, Belle Workman will present research on the health co-benefits that arise from actions to mitigate climate change; then Angela Bruckner will present lessons that can be learned from the development and implementation of the EU Taxonomy, towards the development of an Australian Taxonomy.
Finally, this event will conclude with a discussion of the links between the EU-Australia Knowledge Network and other members of the Australian SPIPA network, the lessons of the SPIPA program, and next steps to continue the collaborative research relationships developed during this program.
This event has been organised with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
Web tools and Projects we developed
The live tracker of the Australian electricity market.
This website is based on a Nature Climate Change study that compares Nationally Determined Contributions with equitable national emissions trajectories in line with the five categories of equity outlined by the IPCC.
Run one of the most popular reduced-complexity climate carbon cycle models online. Used by IPCC, UNEP GAP reports and numerous scientific publications.
Check out our analysis of all the post-2020 targets that countries announced under the Paris Agreement.