Transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a key part of Australia’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An energy system with more renewables, however, is susceptible to variations in the weather and climate. Extended periods of cloudy, wind-less weather can mean solar and wind production isn’t enough to meet demand. This can be compounded when hydropower reservoir levels are low. The extent to which solar, wind and hydropower droughts will co-occur in the coming decades is unknown, but is crucial in enabling the energy sector to transition its systems to rely more on renewables. In this project, the student will use climate model data to quantify how likely it is that Australia will experience compound wind, solar and hydropower droughts under different emissions scenarios for the coming century. The results will be used to inform future research into the impacts of climate change on Australia’s energy system.

Supervisors: Dr Anna Ukkola ( and Dr Doug Richardson (

Location: UNSW

Required skills: Some programming experience (ideally Python or R) is desirable.