RP2.1-01 Lessons Learned from major infrastructure upgrades

Executive Summary

This project documented lessons learned from earlier major upgrades to national energy infrastructure and identified effective engagement strategies that can be used in the potential conversion of gas networks to operate with hydrogen and/or other zero carbon gases. Three main historical cases were examined: the transformation from ‘town gas’ to natural gas; the introduction of ethanol (E10) into the transportation fuel market; and the rapid expansion of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in Australia.

The project included four streams of work:

  • A desktop review and presentation of three case studies that are in some way analogous to the potential introduction of low-carbon fuels in Australia;
  • A desktop review of academic literature relating to social acceptance and stakeholder participation in comparable technology transitions and energy projects;
  • Analysis of data from semi-structured interviews with key informants who have a lived memory of, or expert insights into, the three case studies; and
  • Development of a community engagement and interaction toolkit providing a practical guide to community-company interactions during the decarbonisation journey of Australia’s energy sector.

The three detailed case studies provide the future fuels sector with accounts of the issues that arose during past infrastructure upgrades or transitions and the approaches that industry and government used to manage these issues.

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Commencement / End Date April 2019 to March 2020
Outcomes / Impact

The research conducted in this project provides information that can be used to consider lessons which may, to some extent, be transferable to future transitions to net zero emission future fuels.

In addition to the draft community engagement and interaction toolkit, the case studies developed in the project can serve educational purposes. The energy sector can consider the synthesised key lessons from the three case studies and their applicability to future fuels so that they may avoid potentially repeating past mistakes.

Partners RMIT University, University of Queenland, Jemena, Quanta Services
Research Contact

Dr Stephen McGrail

Research and Education Program Coordinator