Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship

November 17th, 2021

Exploring stakeholders' expectations and opportunities for regional co-benefits from new large-scale solar and hydrogen energy projects

Project Duration: August 2020 – June 2023

Light bulb with green plant sprout inside

Credit: iStock/Pom669

Enabling a just transition to a low-carbon economy

The Challenge

The Queensland Government is committed to developing affordable and sustainable energy, and has set a target to transition to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. This will require significant investment in large-scale solar and other renewable projects while ensuring security of supply during the transition. However, new energy projects are not without opposition and local communities increasingly expect to see regional benefits. This research project directly addresses this challenge.

This research project will help ensure large-scale energy projects are developed in ways that meet community expectations. To do this, researchers will identify opportunities for host communities, and elicit and document stakeholders’ expectations for regional co-benefits. This is particularly important as Queensland strives to develop its export capabilities in hydrogen energy. The Queensland Government’s Hydrogen Industry Strategy recognises the potential that a thriving hydrogen industry offers and seeks to maximise opportunities for local communities to participate in new energy projects and supply chains.

This focus aligns with two CSIRO Future Science Platforms – Responsible Innovation and Hydrogen Energy.

Responding to the Challenge

CSIRO is one of seven collaborators supporting The University of Queensland in an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship – a program developed by the Department of Science Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI). The research, led by Dr Kathy Witt of The University of Queensland, provides CSIRO with an opportunity to share its experience, knowledge and science capability in the fields of both hydrogen technology and social licence science to enable the solar and hydrogen industries to develop in ways that meet public expectations and help realise opportunities for local communities.

Project Impact

The research outcomes will support Queensland in achieving a low-carbon energy supply and its transition to renewable energy generation. It will help identify the economic opportunities that arise from a low-carbon economy, and also help to ensure the economic and social well-being of those local economies hosting solar and hydrogen energy initiatives.


CSIRO: Andrea Walton; University of Queensland: Kathy Witt (Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellow) and project leader

Additional information relating to this project is available as per below:

CSIRO Hydrogen Future Science Platform:

CSIRO’s News Release ‘Partnering to maximise co-benefits of new hydrogen energy projects’:

University of Queensland’s News Release ‘Prestigious fellowship awarded to research looking into maximising co-benefits of new energy projects’:

Related articles include:

CSIRO’s News Release ‘Social Science for Hydrogen Energy Future’ and report: