Can renewable energy meet ‘baseload’ power? - Grattan Institute

Can renewable energy meet ‘baseload’ power? from Melbourne Energy Institute on Vimeo.

The claim is often made that renewable technologies cannot supply baseload power. What is ‘baseload power’, and do we actually need it? This Energy Futures seminar will explore whether a portfolio of renewable technologies can reliably supply our power needs.

Our speakers will explore the emergence of new energy storage technologies and the opportunities they present for renewable energy integration. They will question the role different energy storage solutions play in the supply of reliable electricity, and at what cost.


Roger Dargaville is the deputy director and senior energy analyst at the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne. His research areas are optimization of large-scale renewable energy systems, novel storage technologies and electricity demand forecasting. He leads an ARENA funded project to develop a medium-level complexity model of the Australian energy system to be used to find the least cost combinations of fossil and renewable technologies to transition from the current energy infrastructure to a low carbon economy by 2050. Prior to returning to Melbourne in 2008, Roger worked at the International Energy Agency on the Energy Technologies Perspective 2008 publication, and at UNESCO in Paris.  He has a BSc (Hons) and PhD in Science from the University of Melbourne.

Nicola Falcon is currently Group Manager, Planning at AEMO.  She is responsible for a number of the AEMO publications including the Gas Statement of Opportunities, Electricity Statement of Opportunities, National Transmission Network Development Plan, and Victorian Annual Planning Report, and brings a strong stakeholder-focus to this role. Nicola has over twelve years strategic consulting experience in the energy and environment sectors and has managed assignments in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa and North America. She specialises in providing strategic advice on issues relating to energy markets and systems. Critically, this advice is backed by robust market modelling, statistical, economic and/or commercial analysis.

Professor Andrew Blakers is the Foundation Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSES) at the Australian National University (ANU). CSES is an externally funded group of 60 staff & research students working on various aspects of solar energy conversion. Andrew has been awarded a Radio Research Board Postdoctoral Fellowship (1984), an ARC Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship (ARC, 1986), a Humboldt Fellowship (1989) and an ARC Senior Research Fellowship (1992). He was appointed to the academic staff of the ANU in 1991 and reached the rank of Professor in 1999. Professor Blakers is well known as a commentator on energy and greenhouse issues. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Australian Institute of Physics and the Australian Institute of Energy. He is a life member of the International Solar Energy Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation.