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The Queensland community’s propensity to invest in the resilience of their community and the electrical distribution network

Austin, Kate (2019) The Queensland community’s propensity to invest in the resilience of their community and the electrical distribution network. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Electricity supply is vital for community response and recovery in the aftermath of a disaster. Everything from disaster response coordination, communication, public lighting and safety, as well as the provision of health services, basic household operations and the economic recovery of the community, relies on electricity to function. This dependency, coupled with the vulnerability of our electricity networks, highlights the need to establish resilient distribution networks.

The notion that small-scale solar PV (SSPV) and battery energy storage systems (BESS) might contribute to network resilience, has become a popular avenue of investigation, with the growing uptake of these technologies. Beyond the technical challenges of establishing a smart grid network and reaching the required uptake of the technology to have sufficient storage capacity, a third factor relating to householders’ willingness to share stored energy with their community, remains largely unexplored.

In a marked departure from the existing literature, this thesis investigates the use of SSPV and BESS for distribution network resilience and the community’s attitudes towards sharing energy resources. The research focusses, not on the technical and regulatory aspects of network resilience which are favoured by researchers’, but the behavioural component founded in social sciences. A model for network resilience utilising SSPV and BESS is presented, which argues that a key component of resilience in the aftermath of a disaster event, hinges on the community’s commitment to conservation of energy resources and their willingness to share their stored reserves for the common good.

This research investigates the community’s perspectives on this resilience approach, by exploring attitudinal and behavioural aspects associated with helping the community, to determine the viability of pursuing SSPV and BESS as a practical network resilience option.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Engineering and Energy
United Nations SDGs: Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Supervisor(s): Shahnia, Farhad
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