Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden delivered a special address this week at the Australian National University to open a special panel event on Electrification in Sweden and Australia.
This forum provided an opportunity for Australian and Swedish experts to share views on best practices to fully leverage electrification on the path to net-zero.
Volvo Group Australia President Martin Merrick appeared alongside Johan Forssell, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, on the panel moderated by Professor Mark Howden, Director of the ANU’s Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions and Vice-Chair, Working Group II, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In her opening remarks, HRH Crown Princess Victoria noted “we are at a junction that requires us to find solutions for transforming the way we produce and consume energy. I am proud to say that we have a large number of Swedish companies and research institutes working towards this end.”
Johan Forssell spoke about the “problematic” dependencies that many countries across Europe are facing for their energy supply.
“In today’s world, trade is not only about figures and economic growth and jobs, it is about security.”
Matthew Ryan, Assistant Secretary Transport branch, Department of Climate Change, Energy & Disaster Solutions, said the uptake rate of EVs is around three per cent of new car sales, while Sweden is at 50 per cent.
He added that infrastructure-wise, Australia is still not quite ready – with around 5000 public charging points being rolled out compared to Sweden’s 16-17,000.
“We can learn a lot from Sweden in terms of how we can drive demand, increase supply and get the infrastructure we need,” he said.
Martin Merrick told the forum that sustainability and transformation are like a mantra within Volvo.
“It’s inspiring to hear the enthusiasm we have for those ideals echoed by others in a forum such as this, be it from business, academia or government,” he said.
“Forums such as this play a key part in spreading awareness of what can be done to accelerate the transformation of transport and mobility,” he continued.
Mr Merrick confirmed that Volvo Group Australia is on track to commence building electric trucks at its Wacol plant in Queensland by 2027.
Associate Professor Marnie Shaw, the Research Leader for the ANU Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program spoke about their pilot program with the ACT government.
“Vehicle to grid is a new technology which allows us to use electric vehicles to inject power into the grid for the rare times we need that grid support,” she said.
“This can be for things like backup power. For example, in Newcastle they have electrified fire trucks that can go out to disaster locations and provide backup power for those affected communities.
“The trial here at ANU is an Australian first. We are trialling this technology and also trying to understand the people side of it. What do people want and what do people expect of this technology? What are the benefits and barriers? We need to address the issues and develop the market opportunities to make this a viable technology.”
Associate Professor Shaw encouraged students to consider a career in engineering, social science, or computer science, so that they could contribute to working on this problem.
Watch the full address and panel on ANU TV.
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