CSIRO Shooting For Net Zero Emissions By 2030

CSIRO - net zero emissions

CSIRO aims to be an exemplar of sustainable practices in line with its scientific research focus – and with that in mind has mapped a path to achieve net zero by 2030.

The organisation is aiming to achieve net zero emissions (Scope 1 and 2) for all of CSIRO by that year, and for all of its indirect emissions and value chains (Scope 3) by 2050.

“As a large 100 year old organisation spread across 55 sites nationally, CSIRO has many challenges to emissions reduction, but we believe if we can do it, it will inspire other large companies to leverage Australian science to travel the path to net zero emissions,” said Chief Executive Larry Marshall.

Renewable energy will of course play a major role through purchase of  mains-grid supplied renewables and expansion of on-site solar power generation capacity. This will add to the 13,000 solar panels installed across 10 of its sites already that have a combined capacity of more than 5MW and are generating more than 6,000 MWh of electricity annually – which is equivalent to the consumption of around 1,200 Australian households.

A Net-Zero Newcastle Energy Centre By 2025

One of the CSIRO sites that will reach the net zero goal well before 2030 is the Newcastle Energy Centre, which develops and evaluates new ways to improve energy efficiency, renewables, energy storage and emissions reduction.

The facility (pictured above) already boasts 425kW of solar and wind energy infrastructure, and 600kWh of battery storage. Solar panels are installed on most rooftops at the facility, there are ground-mount systems and a thin film array on a building facade.

As well as conventional solar panels, the Centre is also home to the only high-temperature solar thermal research facility of its type in Australia (towards the right and bottom of the image). There are two fields, each containing a tower and a heliostat array tracking the sun throughout the day. The heliostats reflect  the sunlight and concentrate it on the tower to produce temperatures in excess of 1000º Celsius.

Among the actions to occur at the Centre in the next few years to take it to net-zero is conversion of its gas systems to electric, electrification of its vehicle fleet, more onsite renewable energy generation and optimising of its on-site energy storage control systems.

Newcastle will be the test bed for innovation, before strategies are rolled out elsewhere.

“CSIRO is in a strong position to make science real, by translating it straight from our established energy lab and into our operations, while also directly assisting our industry partners to work towards their own net zero emission ambitions,” said Dr. Marshall.

Trivia – SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock worked for the CSIRO in its “Energy Transformed Flagship” project back in 2007. This program was focused on developing renewable and alternative energy solutions to provide affordable, secure and sustainable electricity and transport fuels for Australia. But Finn wasn’t one for bureaucracy and he didn’t hang around for very long, launching SQ not long after.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. George Kaplan says

    How are they calculating their emissions? Is transport factored in? Are staff still flying overseas for conferences or to the international sites? Is any distinction being made between what can be achieved with inner city sites (the vast majority) and those out bush?

    It’s very easy to talk, not so easy to do.

    Only time will tell if words match deeds.

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