The global energy transition – some inconvenient truths

Articles Written by Bruce Adkins (Partner)
transmission tower

With COP28 UAE now underway in the Middle East, it is quite timely to take a deep dive into the global energy transition, the substantial roadblocks the world is facing, and some suggestions for a sensible pathway forward. 

Johnson Winter Slattery’s head of Energy & Resources, Bruce Adkins, shares his thoughts.

Where did it all start?

For me personally, the moment when I first realised that the world is facing potentially catastrophic consequences from man-made climate change was back in 2005 when I finished reading The Weather Makers by Australian scientist Tim Flannery.

For those who haven’t read it, The Weather Makers is a science-based analysis of the history, causes and likely future impacts of climate change. It was a truly fascinating, but ultimately quite sobering, read. I highly recommend it.

The publication of The Weather Makers in 2005, and the release the following year of former US vice-president Al Gore’s documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, were certainly not the beginning of climate science. But they probably did mark something of a tipping point between widespread climate scepticism and the mainstreaming of climate science as a phenomenon that is not only real, but very serious and requiring immediate action.

It is coming up to 20 years since The Weather Makers was first published, and while the energy transition has well and truly begun, there is still an awfully long way to go. It is a task of such mammoth proportions and complexity that I fear is still not yet fully appreciated, even by the Governments of the world whose job it is to oversee it.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stressed the need to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in order to avoid far more severe climate change impacts (such as more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves, bushfires, cyclones and rainfall). To achieve this, it is estimated that greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 (at the latest), decline 43% from 2005 levels by 2030, and be at net zero by 2050.

There is one simple yet inescapable fact that is not yet widely understood – that renewable energy alone is not going to get us to net zero.

Despite the very best of intentions, fossil fuel based energy generation and transportation – the two biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions – are going to be a part of life for decades to come. The world needs to understand that a multi-pronged approach – involving a combination of fossil fuels plus carbon capture and storage (CCS), more nuclear energy, as well as renewables and possibly other technologies – is the only pathway by which we have any chance of achieving our climate goals.

This is a rather inconvenient truth. But it is one which the world needs to accept sooner rather than later if we are serious about achieving net zero in any sensible timeframe.

Cooking with gas

Unlike the tobacco industry, the coal mining and oil & gas industries (and the fossil fuel based electricity generation and transportation systems which they enable) are not inherently a bad thing.

Coal and gas fired power generation is a cheap and reliable source of energy for an energy hungry world, and has enabled literally hundreds of millions of people around the world to climb out of poverty and into a rising middle class. Without the cheap, reliable and abundant energy that coal and gas have provided, the world would be a much different and far less prosperous place than it is today.

Coal and gas have played a very important (and overall positive) part in the development of humanity, and continue to do so in growing economies like China, India, Vietnam and many others.

The fact remains that even here in Australia, and despite the significant increase in renewable energy generation over the past two decades, without coal and gas fired power generation seven in every ten Australians would not be able to go home tonight and have a warm shower, a cooked meal, or even turn on a light!

However, continuing to burn coal, oil and gas in our powers stations and motor vehicles in the same way that we have done so in the past is clearly a massive problem, so we need to make changes going forward.

Unfortunately the transition is likely to take much longer, and ultimately look quite different, to what most people might currently expect.

Why is the 'capacity factor' important?

In 2021, total global electricity generation was 28,520 terawatt hours (TWh).

In contrast, in 2021/2022, total electricity generation in Australia was 272 TWh. This means that electricity generation in Australia makes up less than 1% of total worldwide electricity generation.

Despite the development of many new renewable energy projects in Australia over the past 15 years, and the fact that there have been no new coal fired power stations commenced during that time, fossil fuels still made up 68% of total electricity generation in Australia in 2022. This included coal (47%), gas (19%) and oil (2%). Renewables made up the remaining 32% of electricity generation, primarily solar (14%), wind (11%) and hydro (6%).

However, to replace the 68% of current energy generation in Australia which is fossil fuel based, we need about three to four times as much renewable energy generation capacity as the fossil fuel energy generation capacity that it is replacing. This is due to something called the ‘capacity factor’.

We need to understand how the capacity factor works in order to begin to understand the enormity of the energy transition challenge.

When you turn on a coal fired power station, it keeps running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except when you need to shut it down for planned maintenance, or an unexpected breakdown occurs and it is shut for unplanned maintenance. Overall, coal fired power stations in Australia are generally considered to have a capacity factor of about 70-80%.

A solar farm, however, can only produce electricity during daylight hours, so straight off the bat half of every day (on average, over a year) is lost. Even when the sun is up and there are no clouds in the sky, the intensity of the sunlight varies significantly throughout the course of the day and across the seasons. Most of the power is produced in the hottest part in the middle of the day during the warmer months. When it is overcast or raining, the output of a solar farm will be significantly reduced. The closer to the equator, the more efficient the solar farm. And the further from the equator, the less efficient.

Due to all of these factors, rooftop solar in Australia is generally considered to have an average capacity factor of about 12%, and large scale solar farms an average capacity factor of about 22.5%.

Like solar farms, wind farms are also dependent upon the weather. When the wind blows, they generate power. When the wind blows faster, they generate more power. When the wind doesn’t blow, there is no power. Wind farms in Australia are generally considered to have an average capacity factor of about 30-35%.

The solar capacity factor at around 22.5%, and wind capacity factor of around 30-35%, compared to the coal capacity factor of around 70-80%, is the reason why we will need three to four times more renewable energy generation to replace the same amount of fossil powered energy generation.

Incidentally, the capacity factor for nuclear power generation is about 95%. I will come back to nuclear a bit later.

So how does the capacity factor work in practice? Let’s look at an example.

The Tarong Power Station near Nanango in the South Burnett Region of south east Queensland is a 1,400 megawatt capacity coal fired power station.

We cannot replace the generating capacity of the 1,400 megawatt Tarong Power Station with only 1,400 megawatts of wind or solar generation capacity. Instead, we will need about 4,000 to 5,000 megawatts of renewable generation capacity. Given that – at least historically – wind and solar projects have tended to be relatively small in scale (at less than 100 megawatts each), replacing the Tarong Power Station with renewables will be a very big job indeed.

To put 4,000 to 5,000 megawatts of renewable generation capacity into context, the total of all current wind generation capacity installed in Australia is only about 9,100 megawatts!

Multiply the 4,000 to 5,000 megawatts of renewable generation capacity needed to replace the Tarong power station by the 16 coal fired power stations still operating in Australia, then add on top of that the gas and oil fired power stations that also need to be replaced, and the enormity of the task to transition Australia to 100% renewable energy really begins to take shape.

And as I mentioned earlier, Australia represents less than 1% of total global electricity production. So on a global level, the task of transitioning away from fossil fuel based energy generation is of a scale that is almost unfathomable.

Roadblocks to renewables

Apart from the sheer scale of the task, what are some of the other hurdles that we face in achieving the energy transition, and are any of the hurdles insurmountable?

Cost

In the early days of the climate debate, the significantly higher cost of generating electricity from renewable sources was often cited as a reason against it.

Coal was (and still is) an abundant resource on a global scale, and electricity produced from coal was the cheapest, most abundant and most reliable source of power available anywhere in the world.

Thankfully, we have come a very long way. While coal remains an abundant resource, it is no longer cheap and, as the cost of producing electricity from coal has increased significantly in recent years, the cost of producing electricity from renewables has fallen due to increasing economies of scale.

While it might not be the case everywhere in the world, it is certainly the case here in Australia that renewable energy is now competitive with coal in terms of the cost of electricity generation in this country. Indeed, CSIRO and AEMO’s GenCost 2021-22 report concluded that wind and solar are in fact the cheapest sources for electricity generation and storage in Australia, and that when the current period of high inflation ends, wind, solar and batteries are expected to continue to become cheaper.

As a result, the economic reasons advanced against renewable energy generation in the past are simply no longer valid.

Reliability

One of the benefits of coal, gas, oil (and nuclear) power generation is that the electricity is always there when you need it, whereas solar and wind generation depend on the sun shining or the wind blowing.

This is one of the major challenges for renewables displacing fossil fuels for base load power generation, but it is one which the world is quickly coming to grips with.

Whilst in the past wind and solar projects were usually built on a standalone basis with no element of storage attached, these days we see wind and solar projects being developed as integrated projects with storage solutions. Storage might be in the form of a large scale grid connected battery (like the 100MW Tesla battery installed at Hornsdale in South Australia in 2017, which was the world’s first large scale grid connected battery), or alternative storage solutions in the form of pumped hydro projects or conversion of renewable energy into hydrogen or ammonia.

While the reliability factor will be a key issue to be addressed as the world’s energy systems transition towards renewables, there is reason to believe that this is an issue that is far from insurmountable.

Land use conflicts

In comparative terms, the land footprint required to generate renewable energy (including the footprint of the mines required to produce the minerals needed to produce the solar panels and wind turbines, as well as the footprint of the solar farms and wind farms themselves), will be many times larger than the current footprint of the coal mines, gas fields and fossil fuel power stations which they will replace. Some estimates have put the likely step-up in the affected land area at five-fold or more.

This does not necessarily present an insurmountable hurdle, particularly in a country as vast and as sparsely populated as ours. However, history has shown that mining and infrastructure projects of any description – whether renewable or otherwise – will always throw up a variety of land use conflicts – with landowners (farmers and graziers), traditional owners, environmental groups, local councils and others.

While it might seem ironic, the very projects which Australia and world needs to transition away from fossil fuels will almost certainly be subjected to delay and disruption by environmental stakeholders, as these projects have been in the past.

Recently I saw a post on LinkedIn by the CEO of CleanCo which included a photo of the Kaban wind farm near Ravenshoe, about 80km southwest of Cairns. The very first comment underneath the post complained that the site of this wind farm “has been completely wrecked by this inappropriately placed development” which “does not have social licence within the community nor within the conservation sector”.

Sadly, this stakeholder opposition towards vital renewable energy projects is not unusual – we don’t want coal or gas power stations, but we don’t want wind or solar (or nuclear) either!

The sheer fact that the land footprint required for the energy transition will be so much larger than we have seen in the past will lead to an increasing number of land use conflicts and disputes between various stakeholder groups. These will invariably spill over into legal challenges to permitting and approvals for these projects, and inevitable delays.

While governments at various levels in Australia have made attempts over many years to ‘cut red tape’ and to streamline regulatory and environmental approvals for projects, in practice it seems that the opposite has happened and the approvals processes for projects of all description have become more prolonged and littered with roadblocks.

In my mind, one inconvenient truth is that unless our governments at both State and Federal levels enact real change, the mining, energy and infrastructure projects that we need to achieve the energy transition risk being delayed by all the usual stakeholder fights we have seen in the past around regulatory and environmental approvals and landowner compensation claims.

Many eggs, one basket

While the minerals required for energy transition are highly concentrated within a few producing countries, there is at least some diversity of supply for most minerals, and across the different types of minerals.

Chile dominates copper, while Indonesia dominates nickel, while Australia dominates lithium, and Democratic Republic of Congo dominates Cobalt. However, in each case, there are at least some other sources of these minerals in other countries around the world.

However, on the processing and refining side – taking the raw minerals and turning them into the refined metals that are needed for the energy transition – China is dominant across the board. China produces more than 40% (and in some cases more than 80%) of the world’s refined copper, nickel, cobalt, lithium and rare earth elements.

In a world of increasing geopolitical tensions, having all of our processing and refining eggs in the one China basket is a key risk to the global supply of the minerals and metals required for the energy transition.

These geopolitical risks are, at least in part, the reason why we are now starting to see new processing projects in Australia, such as Vecco’s vanadium electrolyser plant at Townsville in Queensland, and Alkemy’s proposed lithium sulphate refinery at Port Headland in Western Australia.

The world will need to see much more of this non-China processing and refining in the future to help secure future supply of vital minerals and metals.

We need how much copper?

The two biggest contributors to global warming are the burning of coal, gas and oil to produce electricity, and the burning of petrol and diesel in the internal combustion engines of the world’s cars, trucks, trains, ships and aeroplanes.

While much of the focus over the past 20 years has been on the cost and technologies required for the energy transition, one very important piece of the jigsaw puzzle which has largely been ignored is three simple yet very crucial questions:

  1. How much of these minerals and metals of various types will be required to transition away from fossil fuels for energy generation and transportation?
  2. Are there sufficient quantities of these minerals and metals in the world?
  3. How long will it take to mine and process the required minerals and metals?

The assumption, to date, has been that the required minerals and metals are available, and in the timeframes in which we need them. That may not be a safe assumption to make.

The Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) published a report in 2021 on what they described as “the challenges around the ambitious task of phasing out fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) that are currently used in vehicle Internal Combustion Engine technology (ICE) and for electrical generation”.

The GTK report focussed on the three questions above, and the title of their resulting PowerPoint presentation – “It’s time to wake up” – hints at the conclusions they reached.

GTK adopted what they described as a novel ‘bottom up’ approach to calculate the amount of minerals and metals needed to completely transition away from fossil fuels. Previous studies, they say, had tended to focus on estimated costs and CO2 footprint metrics, whilst ignoring physical material requirements.

In 2019 about 7.2 million electric vehicles (EVs) were in use globally, out of a total global fleet of around 1.416 billion vehicles. This suggests that only half of 1% of the global fleet of motor vehicles was electric at that point, and 99.5% of the global fleet still needed to be replaced. It has been estimated that by late 2023 this split is now about 1% EVs and 99% not.

On the energy side, data from 2018 estimated that 84.7% of global energy production was fossil fuel based, whereas renewables accounted for just over 4% and nuclear just over 10%.

These figures reinforce the massive scale of the global task of transitioning away from fossil fuels for energy generation and transportation.

For the first time ever, GTK calculated how many EVs, hydrogen cell vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, etc will be needed to completely phase out fossil fuels from the existing global energy and transportation systems. They then worked out what raw materials will be needed to make the first generation of these replacement items.

Solar panels, wind turbines, large scale grid connected battery storage systems, electricity transmission and distribution systems needed to service renewable energy projects, and EVs and their batteries all require a wide range of minerals and metals in very large volumes. By way of comparison, EVs require around six times more minerals than an equivalent size conventional motor vehicle.

The minerals required for the energy transition include copper, nickel, cobalt, graphite, silicon, lithium and vanadium, as well as a range of rare earth metals, including germanium.

The very first point in the GTK slide presentation is a rather stark finding – “The currently known global mineral reserves will not be sufficient to supply enough metals to manufacture the planned non-fossil fuel industrial systems”.

In short, we simply don’t have the raw materials needed to achieve the energy transition. This is a very inconvenient truth for a world that is banking on renewables as the answer.

However, even if we could somehow find enough reserves of each of the critical minerals and metals, there is yet another blow in the GTK report.

Based on the total tonnes of minerals / metals that is estimated to be required to produce the first generation of technology to replace fossil fuels, and global rates of production of each of those minerals and metals, the GTK report concludes that the world simply cannot achieve a complete transition from fossil fuels to renewables by 2050.

Based on 2019 rates of production, it will take 189 years to produce the 4.5 billion tonnes of copper that will be required. However, in 2022, the total reported global reserves of copper was less than 900 million tonnes – leaving a shortfall of more than 3.5 billion tonnes!

And the news only gets worse from there.

Nickel – 940 million tonnes is needed, which will take 400 years to produce. However, total known global reserves of nickel are only 95 million tonnes.

Cobalt – 218 million tonnes is needed, which will take 1,733 years to produce. However, total known global reserves of cobalt are only 7.6 million tonnes.

Graphite (natural flake) – 8.9 billion tonnes is needed, which will take 3,287 years to produce. However, total known global reserves of graphite are only 320 million tonnes.

Vanadium – 681 million tonnes is needed, which will take 7,101 years to produce. However, total known global reserves of vanadium are only 24 million tonnes.

Lithium – 944 million tonnes is needed, which will take 9,920 years to produce. However, total known global reserves of lithium are only 22 million tonnes.

And worst of all – Germanium. At 2019 rates of production, it will take 29,113 years to produce the 4.1 million tonnes needed.

These numbers do not come from climate change naysayers, but from the Geological Survey of Finland and the United States Geological Survey (Source: BGR 2021, USGS, Friedrichs 2022).

Yes, the world might pick up the pace in terms of the annual rate of the discovery, exploitation and processing of these vital minerals and metals. However, these numbers paint a very sobering picture of the prospects of the world achieving a complete transition away from fossil fuels to renewables in any sort of reasonable timeframe.

VHS or Betamax?

Before turning to the possible solutions, an interesting detour takes us into the EVs versus hydrogen fuel cell debate that is currently raging.

If you are more than 45 years old you will remember the epic battle between the VHS and Betamax video formats in the newly emerging home video recorder market of the late 1970s / early 1980s.

While I recall the purists arguing that Betamax was the clearly superior technical solution (providing a better picture quality), VHS quickly gained market dominance and soon wiped Betamax off the face of the planet, consigning it to nothing more than a footnote in the history books. For younger readers, more recent examples of this are Google and every other internet search engine, or Uber and the other rideshare apps.

One can’t help but wonder whether history will ultimately show that EVs and Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – which are competing to be the replacement for conventional motor vehicles – will travel a similar path.

While the CEO of the Toyota motor car company has, quite recently, boldly claimed that his new hydrogen fuel cell engine will spell the end of EVs (take a look at his video on YouTube), he seems to be an almost lone voice amongst the world’s automotive manufacturers.

Following hot in the footsteps of Tesla and their world-first mass-market electric motor vehicles, just about every car manufacturer in the world has jumped on the EV bandwagon, with many now voluntarily declaring that they will make nothing but EVs from 2030. Even supercar manufacturer Lamborghini has recently released their version of a hybrid supercar, the Revuelto.

Governments around the world have also been on the front foot, with many announcing that they will prohibit the sale of conventional vehicles after 2030 or 2035. Here in Australia, a carrot rather than a stick approach has been adopted, with recent FBT rule changes allowing employees to salary sacrifice zero emissions cars, potentially halving the cost of new EVs to employees here in Australia.

The approach by the global car manufacturers, coupled with the changing policies of countries around the world, has seen the uptake of EVs growing exponentially. Last year 12% of all motor vehicles sold were EVs. This year it will be higher again.

While, globally, EVs still make up only 1% of all motor cars, already they have built up such momentum over hydrogen fuel cell motor cars that it is hard to see the hydrogen car ever catching up. And with concerns about the safety of hydrogen vehicles, and the cost and availability of ‘green’ hydrogen fuel, still remaining, the hydrogen fuel cell motor car just might go the same way as the Betamax home video recorder. I won’t be rushing out to buy one.

Hydrogen might, however, have more luck in the heavy transport sector where electric engines are less suited to the transport task due to the need for a longer driving range, heavier loads and shorter ‘re-fuelling’ times. However, in this market segment, hydrogen will be competing against biofuels, such as that produced by HIF Global at their pilot plant in Chile and future commercial plants planned for the USA and Australia.

While there are a lot of projects around Australia (and the world) focussed on the production of green hydrogen as a future global energy source, one can’t help but wonder how hydrogen will stack up against the alternatives in each segment of the market, and just what role hydrogen will play in our energy future. There will probably be some role for hydrogen to play in our overall energy mix, but one suspects that it might prove to be more of a bit player than an A-list star.

Saul Griffith of Rewiring Australia is much more blunt about his views on hydrogen. He says that the idea that hydrogen will play a large role in the energy future does not make economic or thermo-dynamic sense, and that to advocate hydrogen of any colour would be taking our decarbonisation efforts in the wrong direction.

So for hydrogen, it seems the jury is still out.

OK, so what next?

All of this brings us to the seemingly inevitable conclusion that renewables alone will not be enough to achieve the energy transition. So what is the answer?

Helpfully, in their otherwise quite grim report, GTK does share some ideas for a pathway forward, and I have one or two of my own thrown in.

Better (different) batteries

For one, we need to develop new types of batteries that use minerals other than lithium-ion. What that might be I’m not sure, but there is a lot of research happening in this space.

What we do know right now is that there is not enough lithium for a 100% EV world (with global known reserves of lithium sitting at about 2.3% of expected requirements). One of the greatest mysteries to me is why lithium prices are not shooting into the stratosphere.

Go nuclear

Whilst much of the world, and certainly Australia, has shunned nuclear energy – largely fuelled by safety concerns since the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters – it will be vital to change our thinking around this.

The ‘not in my back yard’ syndrome is no doubt very strong when it comes to nuclear power, but the world needs to embrace the pure and simple fact that nuclear energy will have to play an increasing role in the global energy transition solution.

Nuclear won’t be the complete solution.  But it is the only current technology capable of delivering large scale baseload power generation with zero greenhouse gas emissions with less intensity in terms of the minerals and metals required. Modern nuclear reactors – called small modular reactors (SMRs) – are very safe and economical by historical standards.

The University of Queensland published an interesting report in June 2021 titled ‘What would be required for nuclear energy plants to be operating in Australia from the 2030s’. This comprehensive report is an interesting read, and comes to the conclusion that “SMRs promise to meet the engineering, economic and environmental requirements and demands of Australia more comprehensively and cost effectively than alternative technologies could”.

The case for nuclear power in Australia and the world seems to be clear.

Biofuels

Biofuels will also have a role to play.

They may be the only way to power our future aviation industry, and might also provide a solution for global shipping.

Global car manufacturer Porsche hopes that biofuels will be the answer for keeping the internal combustion engine alive in an environmentally responsible way for motoring enthusiasts of the future.

A role for CCS?

The idea of capturing and storing the carbon dioxide that is produced by our fossil fuel based power stations has been around for several decades, and there are a variety of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects under consideration around the world. 

A traditional CCS project involves the idea of capturing the CO2 at the power station before it is released into the atmosphere, and then transporting it by pipeline to an underground geological structure (such as a depleted oil or gas reservoir) where it is injected into the earth, never to return.

While this sounds great in theory, one wonders about the economics (quite apart from the technicalities) of capturing the CO2, transporting it potentially vast distances in a dedicated CO2 pipeline, and then injecting it back into the ground and hoping that it stays there.

There will be finite underground storage capacity around the globe, and the cost of getting it there, and keeping it there, might be prohibitive. In many places around the world, where there is not a history of oil and gas production, appropriate underground geological storage structures simply might not exist.

Despite these challenges, the Global CCS Institute has recently reported that there are currently 41 CCS projects in operation around the world, another 26 under construction, and 325 in development.

However, an even more interesting idea, I think, is to capture the CO2 emissions at the source and convert them into solid carbon plus oxygen. The carbon in solid form will then be much easier (and more cost effective) to handle and dispose of.

This is not the stuff of fantasy, but is exactly what a research team led by RMIT University in Melbourne has been working on since 2019.

In a world first breakthrough, they discovered a new technique that can efficiently convert CO2 from a gas into solid carbon and oxygen, in a process that is both efficient and scalable. This breakthrough offers a potential means for safely and permanently removing CO2 from the atmosphere. A side benefit is that the solid carbon is excellent at holding an electrical charge, making it an ideal super-capacitor that could potentially be used as a component in future electric vehicles.

If the world can crack this nut – the conversion of CO2 into solid carbon plus oxygen – then we will have the solution to the energy transition. We could continue to run fossil fuel power stations to the extent that we are not otherwise able to replace them with renewables and nuclear, but treat the resulting emissions to achieve net zero.

Plants around the world convert CO2 into carbon and oxygen with very little effort every single day, so humans should try a bit harder to find a way to do the same thing cost effectively and at large scale. More research dollars needs to be thrown at this by business and governments around the world.

Other technologies?

As a young lawyer in the 1990s I did work for a company called Geodynamics Limited which had grand plans to produce zero emissions energy from the hot granites located deep in the Earth’s crust in the Cooper Basin in north-eastern South Australia. 

The idea was to pump water into wells drilled deep into this granite layer some kilometres underground, and the super-heated steam which returns to the surface would spin turbines and, in turn, produce emissions free electricity.  

While this process would result in a gradual cooling of this granite layer over time, the area of hot granites was so vast, and the rate of cooling so imperceptible, that it wouldn’t matter. It seemed a simple yet elegant solution.

Unfortunately this project never got off the ground, I think because of the astronomical cost of drilling wells so very deep into the earth (more than 3km), and the vast distance of the project from populated areas which had a demand for the electricity.

But whatever the reason, energy from geothermal sources no longer features in the conversation here in Australia about potential sources of emissions free electricity. Perhaps it should, or perhaps the Geodynamics story should simply serve as the inspiration for the idea that the answer to our energy needs might lie in some technology that we have not even thought of yet.

But if that is the case, then we’d best get on and think of it!

Important Disclaimer: The material contained in this article is comment of a general nature only and is not and nor is it intended to be advice on any specific professional matter. In that the effectiveness or accuracy of any professional advice depends upon the particular circumstances of each case, neither the firm nor any individual author accepts any responsibility whatsoever for any acts or omissions resulting from reliance upon the content of any articles. Before acting on the basis of any material contained in this publication, we recommend that you consult your professional adviser. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation (Australia-wide except in Tasmania).

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