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Future Energy Research Group

Future Energy is an interdisciplinary strategic theme area for research based within the College of Arts, Law and Education, and run collaboratively with Engineering, Business and Economics, and Geography.

Our core objective is to engage with energy institutions and cultures in order to produce high quality research that interrogates and clarifies options for future energy provision in Tasmania, and beyond.

Future Energy brings together University of Tasmania scholars working on energy governance, markets, culture, and technologies from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including social science, the humanities, business studies and engineering.

Banner Image Credit: Russell Warman, PhD Student, Geography

Contact | Co-Directors

Heather Lovell (Social Sciences)
Clinton Levitt (Business & Economics)
Evan Franklin (Engineering)

Alignment with UTAS Research Themes

Our Research Group

Marine/IMAS.Karen Alexander is an interdisciplinary Research Fellow in the Centre for Marine Socioecology, IMAS. She is a human geographer with wide-ranging interests, centring on marine governance. She specialises in issues around the transition to a blue economy and her research has focused on governance of marine sectors such as marine renewable energy.

Anthony Broese van Groenou

Sociology. Anthony Broese van Groenou is a PhD candidate investigating Smart grids and Living off the Grid at the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania. He has travelled to the USA, Japan, Scotland, Denmark and Australia to investigate community led renewable energy initiatives and has researched Indigenous Owned Renewable Energy projects in remote Australia. Anthony has a passion for Science Communication and has worked as a Science Educator, Community Owned Renewable Energy consultant and has broadcast credits in film and television.

Public Policy. Kate Crowley is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of Tasmania. She has published extensively on public policy, and environmental and climate politics and policy. Kate also works at the academic-policy interface and has written policy strategies that were subsequently implemented through the Tasmanian Climate Change Office. Her current energy policy research encompasses the role renewable energy advocacy coalitions, climate policy development and termination, and community renewable energy policy.

Geography. Aidan Davison is Associate Professor in Human Geography. His interdisciplinary research explores political and cultural questions at the intersection of themes of technology, sustainability and nature.

Business and Economics. Mardi Dungey is an expert in financial markets and the analysis of big data. She has interests in econometrics and applied policy issues. Her interest in energy markets is primarily in understanding market behaviour as incentivised by regulatory and market structures.

Ali Ghahremanlou

Ali Ghahremanlou is a PhD Student in the School of Business and Economics whose research interests are about power outages - the reasons behind them as well as their impact in an economy. He also researches spot prices in the Australian National Electricity Market. In the Future Energy group he is interested in the relationship between physical characteristics and social desires in the Australian electricity market.

Sociology/Public Policy. Veryan has a background in the private sector (industry) and consulting, spanning science and energy policy. She is an Australian lead country contributor for the Global Status Report for Renewable Energy REN2016 and REN2017. Veryan Hann is a PhD Candidate (2016-2019) in social sciences researching the energy policy and social impacts of an ARENA funded Smart Grid pilot on Bruny Island, Tasmania.

Business and Economics. Darla is an Associate Professor from the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics. She is a relatively new appointment (1.5 years) to UTAS with much of her prior research experience with the CSIRO working on water and climate change adaptation issues. Her research interest centres on the economics of consumer and citizen choice and the potential trade-offs that individuals are prepared to make, e.g. with appliance choice and energy labelling.

Business and Economics.

Sociology. Heather Lovell is an Associate Professor in Sociology within the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania with research interests in energy, climate change and the environment. She is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2015-19), and has previously held positions at Edinburgh, Durham and Oxford Universities in the UK.

Engineering.

Geography. Chloe Lucas is a geographer with a communications and media background. She started her career working on science and environment documentaries for the BBC and other broadcasters, and has also worked as a science communicator for research institutes and federal government. She is in the final stages of PhD research investigating how values, self-efficacy and trust networks influence people’s attitudes to climate change. She is particularly interested in ways to improve bipartisan communication, engagement and action on climate change.

Ocean Engineering. Pengfei is an Associate Professor at the National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics, Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania. He has worked intensively for over two decades in the development of specialty propulsion and renewable energy software and supervision of higher degrees by research. He is a practicing professional naval architect of Canada since 1994 and members of various international academic committees.

Dr Robbie Moore

English.

Sociology. Cynthia is a current PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania. She has over 15 years of industry experience in the paper and energy sectors, a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Engineering, and a Masters in Environmental Law. Her PhD explores the influence of media and communications on transnational environmental campaigns using the Carmichael coal mine as a case study.

English. Hannah is an interdisciplinary researcher whose work engages with the environmental humanities, and the cultural, textual, and theoretical impact of the Anthropocene. She is interested in the emergence of the energy humanities as a new critical paradigm.

Business and Economics. Jing Tian is a Lecturer based in the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics and researches forecasting and macroeconometrics. Her energy research has involved developing an econometric framework for analysing the compositions of multi-horizon electricity demand forecast errors and revisions, which helps to understand the bidding behaviour of electricity generators in the market.

Business and Economics. Dugald Tinch is a Lecturer in Resource Economics at the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Stirling, a MSc in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management from the University of York and a BSc (joint hons) in Geography and Economics from the University of Strathclyde. His energy research areas include energy economics and the economics of climate change and natural resource management.

Engineering. Xiaolin Wang is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and ICT and Head of Discipline (Engineering). He is also a Fellow of Engineers Australia. His research interest includes renewable energy utilisation and conversion, heat pump technology, adsorption-assisted gas storage and thermodynamics of refrigeration and power systems.

Sociology. Phillipa has worked in building design, building life cycle assessment, sustainable design, decision support tool development and in research. In research, using mixed method approaches, Phillipa has explored issues related to housing and sustainability policy issues; decision making for sustainability; adaptation and transition; housing quality; homemaking; energy efficiency and, community change. Recently at UTAS she completed a project, Get Bill Smart, which investigated energy efficiency change in low income households. Currently she is conducting social research on the Bruny Island Battery Trial, which is exploring the technical and social potential of households sharing power stored in batteries to reduce peak load electricity events

Events

Future Energy

May - June 2018

UTAS partners in EnergyLab Tasmania Events

EnergyLab, a startup accelerator, is running a series of events in Hobart and Launceston to facilitate a conversation on the opportunities for clean energy innovation and entrepreneurship in Tasmania. The University of Tasmania is a partner in the event series.

  • 1 May 2018 – Innovation Isle: Opportunities for Clean Energy Startups in Tasmania (Panel Discussion)
  • 5 June 2018 – Challenges and Opportunities for Clean Energy Startups (Panel Discussion)
  • 22-23 June 2018 – EnergyLab TasNetworks Hackathon

IN THE NEWS

Future Energy researcher named as the field leader in Australia in thermal science
24 September 2018, The Australian | Research magazine

Associate Professor Xiaolin Wang was is one of only four researchers in UTAS being so named among 250 research fields. Field leaders were selected based on the number of papers published in the Top 20 journals in each field.

Talking Point: Australia thrust back into energy policy wilderness
31 August 2018, Institute for the Study of Social Change blog

Future Energy

First published in The Mercury on 30 August 2018, Evan Fraknlin discusses events in Canberra unfortunately spelling the end to hopes of there being, any time soon at least, a coherent national policy that addresses both climate and energy objectives in Australia.

ARC Linkage Grant Awarded for Project: Synthetic Storage for Improving Flexibility and Security of Micro-Grids

Future Energy

CIs: Prof Michael Negnevitsky and A/Prof Xiaolin Wang; Research Fellow: Dr James Hamilton; PI: Prof Chemmangot Nayar
PO: Regen Power Pty Ltd

This project ($380K - three years) aims to remove the need for energy storage in micro-grids via adoption of synthetic storage. Microgrids encounter high renewable energy penetrations early, given their small size. Typically, micro-grid variability is managed with technologies such as energy storage. Synthetic storage involves replacing fixed speed diesel assets with variable speed diesel technology. This approach offers a much more cost-effective way to improve renewable penetration and reduce diesel fuel consumption in micro-grids by removing the need for expensive energy storage. The expected project outcomes include reductions in cost and complexity for high renewable energy penetration micro-grids, reduced emissions and improved micro-grid reliability.

CONSORT Bruny Island Battery Trials website Bruny Island trials named Australian Energy Project of the Year
12 April 2018, Australian National University (ANU) News

The Electrical Energy Society of Australia has named the Network Aware Coordination (NAC) trials on Bruny Island as their 2018 Australian Energy Project of the Year. The tests are part of a $8 million CONSORT project, a collaboration between ANU, The University of Sydney, The University of Tasmania, TasNetworks and Reposit Power, with $2.9 million additional funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Bruny energy research project powers up
17 August 2017, Research to Reality, UTAS

Future Energy

An interdisciplinary research project supported by Future Energy is CONSORT-ing with residents over innovative battery usage, in an exploration of how society is responding to innovations in the energy sector.

What the Finkel Review means for Tasmania and Tasmanian energy consumers
16 June 2017, Mercury

On 9 June, Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel released his highly-anticipated review of the National Energy Market (NEM). Researcher Heather Lovell and her colleague Evan Franklin analyse what it could mean for Tasmania and Tasmanian consumers.

Tasmania's Bruny Island tests battery system that could help solve nation's energy dilemma
14 April 2017, ABC News

An innovative research project involving computer scientists, engineers, economists and social scientists all working together studying the trial. Associate Professor Heather Lovell from the University of Tasmania is leading the social science team.

The big, ugly mess that is national energy policy
11 April 2017, South Wind

Following the Future Energy panel event on 6 April, author Peter Boyer discusses the causes of rising power prices being very different from what our political leaders tell us in the context of renewable energy.

Alignment with University of Tasmania Research Themes

Available PhD Projects

There are currently no available PhD Projects related to Future Energy.
For a full list of current University projects, see the Research Division – Available PhD Projects web page.

Publications

A full range of publications relevant to Future Energy can be found on our researcher's full profiles linked above. These include journal articles, books, chapters in books, reviews, conference publications, thesis, and other public output. Some notable books are listed below.