Day Six review:

The options for future power – including nuclear, renewables, thermal and solar – were covered today in the first public session on “Low Carbon Energy Generation Options”.

In a full day of hearings for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, five witnesses covered a range of topics including nuclear reactor designs and operations, through to battery storage technologies.

The first witness was Mr Donald Hoffman, EXCEL Services Corporation, who gave evidence via videolink.

Mr Hoffman is the President and CEO of EXCEL Services Corporation, which he founded in 1985. EXCEL Services Corporation provides specialist advice and support services to nuclear facilities in the US and internationally with respect to operations, engineering, safety, licensing and regulatory issues. Prior to this, Mr Hoffman was a Branch Chief and lead reviewer at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and an Engineering Officer on a US Navy nuclear submarine. He provided an:

  • Overview of nuclear reactor designs currently in commercial operation around the world
  • Overview of nuclear reactor designs under development – potential advantages and key challenges to deployment.

The day’s second witness was Andrew Stock, Energy Company Director, Climate Councillor. With more than 40 years’ experience in the energy sector in Australia and internationally, he has developed 3000MW of generation, large oil and gas projects, and renewables. Mr Stock is also a director of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and a Councillor on the Climate Council. His evidence covered:

  • Overview of a range of different low emissions energy technologies
  • Potential advantages and future challenges of each technology
  • Key challenges to the development of large scale energy generation projects.

ZEN Energy Systems founder and CEO Mr Richard Turner then provided information on sustainable energy technologies. Mr Turner is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD) and has a Bachelor of Business Administration from University of South Australia, and was the 2010 Ernst & Young “Australian Entrepreneur of the Year” for the Cleantech Sector. He was questioned on:

  • Technical overview of ZEN battery storage systems and potential applications at the household, micro-grid and grid level
  • Factors driving the cost of battery storage systems into the future.

The fourth session focused on thermal energy, with Jonathan Whalley, CEO of Latent Heat Storage providing an overview of the sector. His company is developing a highly scalable Thermal Energy Storage System (TESS) suitable for both grid and off-grid applications aimed at overcoming the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources. He evidence covered:

  • A technical overview of the Thermal Energy Storage System and potential applications
  • Key challenges to commercialisation.

The final witness was the Chief Economist at the CSIRO Energy Flagship, Paul Graham. He is responsible for advice on the global and national economic context relevant for the energy sector, setting the strategic direction for economic research and leading major projects, and his spoke on:

  • Battery energy storage technologies – projected market penetration in the future
  • Recent modelling by the CSIRO regarding generation technologies in the future energy sector.

Video and transcripts of each session will be uploaded into the Public Sessions archive.

The next public session is on Thursday, October 1, 2015, in the Commission’s office, 50 Grenfell St, Adelaide.

Click here for topic and witness lists for Day Two, Topic 4 – Low carbon energy generation options.