Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Creating a Renewable Energy Export Industry for Australia

ANU Kioloa Coastal campus
Greetings from the Australian National University Kioloa Coastal Campus (KCC). I attending a retreat for the Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific (ZCEAP) Grand Challenge  Team. The team is researching how to set up a renewable energy export industry for Australia, in 25 years time, which is comparable in size to coal and gas today.

Energy could be collected in north western Australia by large wind or solar farms, then exported to Asia, via undersea cable, by ship as liquefied gas, or refined metals.

There are researchers from many disciplines, working questions such as markets, geopolitical issues, development for Indigenous communities, value-added manufacturing in the Pilbara.

I am one of the "cloud" participants on the periphery of the project, interested in how ICT can help, and how online education of the research outputs can be created (I teach ICT Sustainability). One issue is how to freely work with academics, while protecting valuable intellectual property, especially from hacking attack.

There was a pitch session at the retreat,  where ideas of what we could do were put up. I had not asked to speak at this but realized my work on online education was relevant. One of the issues with introduction of renewable energy is that many people have to learn new skills. This ranges from some one installing and maintaining solar panels, up to industry executives and government policy makers.

The traditional way to provide training and education is with classroom courses. However, that requires taking people away from their workplace for days or weeks. In the case of renewable energy for the Asia-pacific, the training center could be thousands of km from the trainee. Another issue is that the training is not perceived as of value to the individual or their organisation.

Instead of classroom courses, training can now be delivered in the workplace, online, via a mobile phone. This training can meet industry and national quality standards, and provide credit to further vocational, or university study. It happened I talked about this at EduTECH 2019 in Sydney last week, so pined my presentation up on the pitch board. This attracted some interest from colleagues.

What looked most relevant was the issue of training for remote indigenous communities in Australia and islands of the Pacific. While a multi-billion dollar energy project with thousands of workers on one site can schedule training, this is much more difficult with thousands of personnel scattered over about one quarter of the world.

In his PHD thesis, Philip Townsend (p. 26, 2017), pointed out there has been rapid adoption of mobile devices in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. He looked at how to use these devices for the education of pre-service teachers.

ps: The ANU Kioloa Coastal Campus can accommodate up to 90 people, in cottages and dormitories. As well as a lab, there is a new conference center, with my favorite layout of rectangular rooms, plus tables on wheels. 


Townsend, Philip, 2017 Travelling together and sitting alongside: How might the use of mobile devices enhance the professional learning of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pre-service teachers in remote communities?, Flinders University, School of Education.  URL https://flex.flinders.edu.au/items/7a690838-1ce2-4a3e-bc1c-510289161e3c/1/?.vi=file&attachment.uuid=eaeb3a0a-8ce3-4dd8-bb3d-33c99a3fa5ef

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