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Future Energy Research Group

Future Energy’s vision is for the State of Tasmania to be an internationally recognised experimental hub for energy. A laboratory that the rest of Australia, as well as other nations, can learn from.

Future Energy is a research collaboration at the University of Tasmania working on energy governance, markets, culture, and technologies. The group brings together expertise from business, economics, engineering, ICT, social science, geography, marine science, architecture, planning, and the humanities to produce high quality research that interrogates and develops options for future energy provision in Tasmania and beyond.

Working with stakeholders, Future Energy seeks to position Tasmania as an international test bed for innovative and collaborative solutions to the challenges our energy sector is facing, including climate change, ageing infrastructure, market design, and maintaining appropriate governance in a fast-changing technology-intensive environment.

Solving these complex, multi-faceted and highly politicised problems requires expert, independent and interdisciplinary research. This is what the University of Tasmania provides through Future Energy.

Banner Image Credit: Russell Warman, PhD Student, Geography

Our Research Group


Associate Professor Evan Franklin is an engineer with research interests in solar photovoltaics, battery storage and other distributed energy resources, the integration of renewable energy generation into power systems, and the role of energy storage in future energy systems.

Dr Clinton Levitt works in applied economics with interests in energy, natural resource and environmental economics. Clinton’s research includes investigating strategic behaviour in energy markets, power system economics and the interaction between energy and other sectors of the economy.

Full list of researchers

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.

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.

Professor Heather Lovell is a social scientist with research interests in processes of policy and technology change, with a focus on energy. Heather’s current projects are based around smart grids, energy storage and understanding householder experiences.

Engineering. Alan Henderson is a Senior Lecturer and Program Leader in the School of Engineering and the Centre for Renewable Energy and Power Systems (CREPS). His research interests are focused on optimising the efficiency of energy transfer and conversion. His research areas include turbines and turbomachinery, energy storage and energy transport in mechanical forms, such as water, heat and compressed air. He has interests in energy storage techniques that provide stability and enhance the ability to deliver base load generation to renewable generation systems.


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


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.

UTAS Sustainability Manager. Corey has a keen interest in implementing sustainability initiatives within our communities that encourage us to tackle the small problems as well as the big, to dream and believe that we can do better. Corey has technical, management and governance experience in the non-profit and non-government sectors, in particular covering science, technology, education and applied sustainability.

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 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

News and 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


Talking Point: Ready for solar farms and more wind? Welcome to our energy revolution
21 May 2020, Mercury (Subscriber only)

Doubling generation from renewables should put Tasmania well into negative emissions. This could be an asset if politicians ever agree to price carbon emissions, writes Evan Franklin, Associate Professor in Energy and Power Systems in the School of Engineering, University of Tasmania.

Talking Point: Renewables plan can spark advanced manufacturing and zero-emission economy
16 May 2020, Mercury (Subscriber only)

Tasmanian Government renewables target can be just what state needs for economic recovery, write Richard Eccleston and Ben Parr, researchers in the Tasmanian Policy Exchange at the University of Tasmania.

Tassie battleground for a green hydrogen future
16 December 2019, Interview | ABC Radio Hobart

Dr Evan Franklin explains the pros and cons of building a hydrogen future. Tasmania could lead the green future but the brown coal industry want it to be their game. In ten years we could be a world leader. But what will it cost to get there?

Creating a long-term energy vision for Tasmania
26 November 2018, Institute for the Study of Social Change blog

Future Energy

A Future Energy workshop, attended by the Energy Minister and key personnel from the Department of State Growth, TasNetworks, Aurora Energy and Hydro Tasmania was part of a series of ongoing collaborations designed to help create and implement a long-term energy vision for Tasmania.

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

Assoc Prof 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.

Available Research Degree Projects

There are currently no available Research Degree Projects currently available with the Future Energy Research Group. However, this will change in the future so please continue to visit this section.

For a full list of current University projects, see the Research Division – Available Research Degree Projects.


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.