Australia 4.0 Draft Communiqué

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To realise a Net Zero Australia, the transformation of our electricity infrastructure, policy landscape and modes of operating will be profound. During our seven national discussion sessions our experts explained many of the challenges and, that in meeting these transformational challenges the role of digital technologies will be critical.

Australia 4.0 is a two-year program which started with this series of multidisciplinary discussions to collaboratively understand and uncover the technical, policy and regulatory challenges, as well as to identify opportunities where the ICT industry could enable this transition of our electricity systems.

What’s been discussed so far...

The Australia 4.0 Communiqué, which will be launched formally early in 2024, encapsulates the insights and conclusions drawn from our national discussions and the national summit, all focused on the transition to renewable energy sources.

A recurring theme was the multifaceted challenges the sector faces from those spanning technological and infrastructural hurdles to the regulatory and economic concerns. Notably, our experts acknowledged that the energy sector and the ICT industry will experience significant skills shortages. New training paradigms will be required to enable engineers and technicians to address system complexities, and for business leaders and regulators to address the intricacies of policy coordination and regulation in this evolving landscape.

Over 100 discrete business and regulatory challenges were collated from transcripts of the seven sessions with the help of targeted AI language models which were then summarised into the following series of 10 key challenges:


To lead the world in a renewable energy transition, Australia will need to achieve excellence in engineering and collaboration.


Increased storage, especially batteries and EV, will be a major change to the network.


The energy transition will require a greater level of analysis, design and planning.


A significant skill shortage, impacting both current operations and future needs.


Coordinating and regulating the future grid in a multi-stakeholder environment will be difficult.


The grid transformation will require an unprecedented level of research, development & commercialisation of new solutions.


The complexity of the future electricity grid will require more sophisticated grid management.


Cybersecurity risks will increase with the complexity of the grid and associated services.


Customers will need the ability to engage with the new grid and to benefit from the change.


Optimal use of new digital technologies requires access to data from existing and new sources.

What’s next in the discourse?

In our sessions, our experts identified a variety of interconnected ideas that could help Australia to adopt best-practice in order to lead the world for the electric grid transformation. However, the diversity of areas covered in this project leads us to ask the questions:

What will a successful grid transformation look like in 2030 or 2050?
Do we, as an industry, have a cohesive view?
We know we have ample sunshine, land, etc. but, which best-practices and technical capabilities will be needed to achieve our lofty ambitions?

Options for next steps... what can we do to capitalise on this opportunity?

In our online Summit on October 30th and in subsequent AI-enabled ideation sessions, we will be asking our experts and participants to envisage what Australia, or any country that aspires to lead the world in the energy transformation, must accomplish.

In 2030-2050 will Australia have…

  • Built the most terawatts of renewable power?
  • Built a connected and optimised power network that includes consumers?
  • Used this power generation to build new industries like hydrogen and green metals production at substantial scale and, at a price point that we can export to the world?
  • Optimised CO2 extraction and reduced CO2 to the lowest levels in the world?
  • Leveraged the dollars spent on the new grid build to create new communities, provide better communications, jobs, and digital enablement to uplift our regional communities?
  • Developed new, world-leading, digital solutions that facilitate the required complexity of connection that will optimise and protect the grid/Internet network and provide for predictive system management?
  • Developed ways to better understand the weather, predict and prepare for extreme events and have found ways to smooth extreme weather impact by working across multiple jurisdictions and seasons?
  • Created an adaptive energy system and Internet that will enable transmission across distances, or moderate the effects of higher temperatures?
  • Created an optimal way for multiple industries, governments and universities to work together towards more holistic solutions?
  • Created efficient networks of consumer agency that will underpin the growth of microgrids, EV and new, consumer-enabled models that use every watt of generated power?
  • Created customer systems that reduce energy consumption and embed circular economy concepts to save energy overall?

Are there other measures, and what are the next steps to achieve them?

How can we embed the solutions and future visions raised in Australia 4.0 into actionable steps that will help move Australia 4.0 forward?

We will explore:

  1. Developing a compelling case for change
  2. Creating an Innovation Consortium to enable cross sector innovation and development
  3. Developing a high-level business case to attract more partners

As calls for better collaboration reverberate throughout the community, we believe that what has been achieved so far in Australia 4.0 is significant, and perhaps the start of something larger and more formal. So, we are looking for ways to engage with a broader audience and incorporate the collaborative discovery process brought together here into next steps.

We will collate these ‘next step’ views into the final Communiqué to be published in December. Our hope is that this will be the beginning. That we will continue to grow this collaborative consortium, and that we will be part of the conversation that will enable Australia to meet its 2030 and 2050 renewable and regenerative goals.

The Pearcey Foundation is proud to bring you Australia 4.0, and we thank all our collaborators & supporters so far ...