Myth busting renewable energy

Presented by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and ANU Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions (ICEDS)

Event details

Thursday 22 February 2024

> Professor Ken Baldwin FTSE, Australian National University
> Professor Kylie Catchpole FTSE, Australian National University


We are in the early stages of a whole-of-economy energy transition away from fossil fuels and towards energy from renewable sources. We are on the precipice of the largest shift in how we use energy since the industrial revolution.

Globally, over 75% of new electricity capacity is from solar and wind.  In Australia, it is around 99%.

Transportation is shifting towards electric vehicles, and heating is moving away from gas towards electric heat pumps.  Industry is investing in replacing coal in metal processing with hydrogen, to create green steel.

Yet, there remain many misconceptions about renewable energy: that it is expensive, takes up too much land, can’t produce enough to meet demand, and can’t be relied on 24/7.

In this event, co-hosted with the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions (ICEDS), we address all these misconceptions. We show that renewables are now the lowest-cost form of electricity, which can easily meet the required demand for all our energy, not just electricity. With its abundant renewable energy resources, Australia is extremely well placed to lead this energy transition.


Ken Baldwin
Professor Ken Baldwin FTSE

Professor, Research School of Physics; inaugural Director, former ANU Energy Change Institute (now incorporated into ICEDS); founding Director, ANU Grand Challenge: Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific

Professor Ken Baldwin was the inaugural Director of the Australian National University’s (ANU) Energy Change Institute, now part of the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions.

He was also the founding Director of the ANU Grand Challenge: Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific.

The main focus of his work is to help drive the energy transition, particularly for Australia’s future export industries based on renewable energy.

Professor Baldwin is an inaugural ANU Public Policy Fellow, and winner of the 2004 Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science, for his role in initiating and championing “Science meets Parliament”.

In 2007, he was awarded the W.H. Beattie Steele Medal, the highest honour of the Australian Optical Society.  In 2010 he was awarded the Barry Inglis Medal by the National Measurement Institute for excellence in precision measurement.

Professor Baldwin is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics (UK), the Optical Society of America and the Australian Institute of Physics.  He is also a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prof Baldwin has held the following appointments:

  • Project Steering Committee, Australian Energy Technology Assessment (2011-2013)
  • Board member, South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence (SERREE, 2014-2019)
  • Socio-Economic Modelling Advisory Committee, South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (2015-2017)
  • Chair, Energy Cluster, the Australia-Indonesia Centre (2015-2018)
  • Founding Chair, Energy Research Institutes Council for Australia (ERICA, 2018-2019)
  • Steering Committee, CSIRO Hydrogen Research, Development and Demonstration Report (2019)
  • Australian Hydrogen Research Network (AHRN) Steering Committee (2020-2021)
  • ACT Renewable Energy Investment Fund Grant Technical Assessment Panel (2022)
  • Member, Australian Hydrogen Research Delegations to Germany (2022), France (2022) and India (2023)
  • Member, Future Electricity Vietnam (FE-V) team, for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Partnerships for Infrastructure (P4I) program (2023-2024)
  • Chair, Industry Advisory Board, ACT Government Renewable Energy Innovation Fund (2023-2025)
  • Non-executive director, Board of the Australian Hydrogen Research Network (2023-present)
  • Chair, Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) Steering Committee, Australian Energy Transition Research Plan (2023-present, committee member 2019-2022)
Catchpole v3
Professor Kylie Catchpole FTSE

Deputy Director, School of Engineering, Australian National University

Kylie Catchpole is a Professor in the School of Engineering at the Australian National University and is internationally recognised as a global leader in solar energy.  Her group has demonstrated record efficiency solar cells, and their work on solar hydrogen generation was listed as one of the global top 10 innovations by the Innovation for a Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) in 2020.   She is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.  She has been awarded the John Booker Medal for Engineering Science from the Australian Academy of Science. She has research interests in solar cells, energy systems and the broader energy transition.

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