As an environmental and energy lawyer, I’m quite excited to be part of the winning Grand Challenge team because the project is focussed on how the urgent challenge of climate change must be met in the Asian region.
ANU Law’s Dr James Prest, Professor Thomas Faunce and Grand Challenge Fellows Grace Soutter and Jinnie Widnyana are part of the interdisciplinary team that won the University’s 2018 $10m Grand Challenges Scheme that will research delivering cheap, clean energy for Australia and the region.
The Grand Challenge Scheme invests in transformative research to make the impossible possible. In its second year, the scheme seeks to bring new perspectives to the most pressing challenges facing society.
"This year's Grand Challenge winning project - to deliver zero-carbon energy to Asia Pacific - is a blueprint for the prosperity of Australia, and our region," ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said.
"I'm really excited about this project because it will deliver exactly what the world needs at this juncture in our history: big thinking, practical solutions, and collaboration across research, industry and the community."
The Zero-Carbon for Energy for the Asia-Pacific project will catalyse the development of a major renewable energy export industry from the ground up: building the infrastructure, exploring the trade relationships, developing the policy frameworks to get Australia's abundant renewable energy resources cheaply and reliably to our Asia-Pacific neighbours.
It will be developed under two key themes, by exporting Australian renewable electricity, and the creation of renewable electricity capability in the Asia-Pacific and by the development of zero-carbon embedded energy products made using Australian renewable energy.
The winning team, which is led by Professor Ken Baldwin from the ANU Energy Change Institute, includes Law’s Dr Prest, who will coordinate PhD and research assistants to work on regulatory issues arising from the plan to construct Australia’s largest ever wind and solar farm - 11 Gigawatts of peak generating capacity - on Nyangumarta land in the East Pilbara, and then connect this to Asia via high voltage direct current cables.
“As an environmental and energy lawyer, I’m quite excited to be part of the winning Grand Challenge team because the project is focussed on how the urgent challenge of climate change must be met in the Asian region,” Dr Prest said.
“As we have seen recently in Australia, energy and climate change are a complex policy problems raising multiple objectives. For example, we need to simultaneously address energy security, energy access for those on low incomes and in remote areas, and decarbonising energy supply and use.
“Meeting this challenge involves working out not just how to improve national level laws and policies to drive the energy transition, but also how to improve international cooperation and international electricity interconnections in order to decarbonise energy systems throughout the Asian region.
“This project raises a host of interesting questions at the intersection of international environmental law, energy law, trade and investment law and international climate change law.”
Law colleague Professor Faunce says he is looking forward to working with Dr Prest on regulatory and governance challenges surrounding Australia’s utilisation of cutting edge zero-carbon energy solutions.