The International Energy Agency (IEA) defines Energy Security as the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price.

Blackouts are about to become a thing of the past as the real heroes in the renewable energy space, hydrogen and solar, begin their mission to provide sound Energy Security.

HSA energy security blackout

DISRUPTIVE blackouts every summer and eye-popping increases in our energy bills means Energy Security in Australia is far from secure, but the good news is the emergence of sound renewable energy solutions such as hydrogen and solar are coming to the rescue.

So, what is Energy Security? The International Energy Agency (IEA) defines Energy Security as “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price”.

Brian Power, Executive Director of Hydrogen Systems Australia, is passionate about an alternative to our reliance on fossil fuels and says it’s about time we took the matter of Energy Security seriously.

“If there is no energy, everything stops,” Power points out.

“Australia has been lazy in its approach to Energy Security up until this year. We didn’t comply with IEA standards for diesel and petrol stockpiles, sometimes having only 2-3 weeks of fuel on our shores.”

“Australia has been lazy in its approach to Energy Security up until this year. We didn’t comply with IEA standards for diesel and petrol stockpiles, sometimes having only two to three weeks of fuel on our shores.”  – Brian Power, HSA Executive Director

Energy Security and the Big 4

Let’s take a closer look at how Energy Security falls into four main categories.

Oil Security. This refers to crude oil, refined for the production of petrol, diesel, jet fuel and LPG. To comply with IEA regulations, countries are to have at least 90 days of crude oil reserves in case of disruption to supply.

Natural Gas. With an increased demand for LNG worldwide, there is a need for continuity of supply, flexibility of pricing and improvements in interconnectivity. Natural gas is used for heating, cooking, energy generation and as a feedstock for chemical and plastic manufacturing.

Electricity Security. With challenges in the supply, infrastructure and cost of electricity – combined with an ageing grid, blackouts, brownouts and complexities arising from increases in renewable options – many countries are desperate for solutions to have reliable electricity.

Emergency Response. This refers to a country or region’s ability to implement a coordinated emergency response system in the event of a major disruption to the supply of oil globally. Countries need to undertake regular training to improve emergency response capabilities.

So what does this mean for Australia?

The Australian Government is well aware of our shortcomings in relation to Energy Security, having recently released its new $200million Fuel Security Package. But the question needs to be asked: is it looking in the right direction?

Only yesterday, we were hit with the news of the closure of the ExxonMobil refinery in Melbourne. This will result in job losses of more than 350 workers. After a review found that the refinery was “no longer economically viable”, the bigger question raised is this: How do we move forward with an energy plan that maintains Australia’s export economy with greener alternatives?

With the closure of the Kwinana Refinery in WA and the future of the Lytton Refinery in Queensland at risk, the single remaining Australian refineries’ (Viva Energy Australia in Geelong) ability to process crude into products at a time when the government wants to increase crude oil stockpiles will be severely impacted.

In addition, there will be a minimum industry stock holding that will see an additional 780 megalitres of diesel storage. And that’s bad news as this may turn us towards expensive overseas imports instead.

Crude oil and diesel on the way out

With increases in sales of electric vehicles and solar panel installations, our requirement for crude oil and diesel stockpiles is going to decrease significantly.

And let’s not forget the carbon dioxide emissions that come with Australia’s so-called reliance on fossil fuels with coal, oil and gas making up 95% of our 400,000,000+ tonnes of annual CO2 emissions in 2018 (see below)

Co2 emissions by fuel type Australia

Even more reasons…

Energy Security in Australia is also impacted by other factors.

Grid Stability. The stability of our electricity grid can be impacted by: an influx of excess energy into the system from renewables; unexpected changes in frequency and voltage; an inability of electricity suppliers to keep up with peak demand; and extreme weather or disaster events including bushfires.

Blackouts/Brownouts. A complete interruption of power or the reduction of power capacity.

Ageing Infrastructure. Old electricity grids, single wire lines, coal fire power stations that are past their expiry dates and old technology all contribute to holes in our grid stability.

All of these factors result in crazy expensive electricity prices for all.

Australia wholesale electricity prices

A renewable way of thinking

Moving forward, we need energy generation systems that are resilient as well as agile.

So, what can we do?

Invest in renewable energy projects. From solar to wind to hydrogen and new and upcoming initiatives, start-ups and technology companies are always looking for backers. These investments will go towards new, renewable projects and most are financially attainable for ‘mum and dad investors’.

Become more energy conscious. Find out where your electricity comes from. Look for energy plans that have a renewable source. Take advantage of grants to purchase renewable energy systems for your home or business.

Lobby local politicians and councils to investigate how they can become more environmentally conscious and implement solutions that will benefit entire communities.

Investigate Micro Grids. Our friends at Energy Magazine have a great article about Micro Grids and their positive uses. They are already happening in Australia.

Learn more about Renewable Hydrogen. Renewable Hydrogen is created from wind and/or solar and is used to run a fuel cell that can power homes and businesses. In addition, it can be used for a variety of mobility applications including hydrogen electric vehicles, trucks, trains and forklifts. The flexibility of hydrogen means that it can be created at site or transported to multiple sites- microgrid style. It is clean, efficient and with grants and support can be quite cost-effective.

Hydrogen is the right choice

As HSA’s Mr Power says, hydrogen is the obvious choice in moving forward and playing a vital role in Energy Security.

“Our reliance on overseas suppliers has been highlighted this year: if for one reason or another, these supply chains are broken or disturbed, we have little in reserve to keep Australia moving. However, there is another alternative. Hydrogen,” Mr Power says.

“It is no longer ‘if’ we transition to hydrogen, but ‘when’. This transition will enable us to be free of supply chain issues, secure our energy future and create Green Hydrogen in Australia’s own backyard to fuel our vehicles, power our industries and homes, and provide export revenue opportunities.”


At Hydrogen Systems Australia, our goal is to help create a cleaner planet with a greener approach to renewable energy production and needs. Our foundations are based on Lean Engineering and manufacturing principles, continuous improvement, as well as on highly collaborative relationships with suppliers, business partners, governments and academia to ensure our solutions always meet our customers’ needs. To chat more with us about hydrogen, send us an email or call: +61 407 802 424.

Renee Golland

About Renee Golland

Experienced Marketing, Communications and Product Manager with a history of working in the scientific and renewable energy industries for more than 15 years.