Via a comment at LP, I just became aware of the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC), the work of which may have quite a bit of relevance to Australia given the amount of desert on the Australian mainland. The best way to describe TREC is to merely copy the contents of that webpage:
The Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC) is an initiative, in the field of renewable forms of energy, of The Club of Rome, the Hamburg Climate Protection Foundation and the National Energy Research Center of Jordan (NERC).
Since it was founded in September 2003, it has developed the DESERTEC concept for energy, water and climate security in EUrope, the Middle East and North Africa (EU-MENA), building on the cooperation of sun-belt and technology belt. Now TREC is making this concept a reality in cooperation with people in politics, industry and the world of finance.
Sketch of possible infrastructure for a sustainable
supply of power to EUrope, the Middle East and North Africa.
The DESERTEC concept of TREC is to boost the generation of electricity and desalinated water by Solar Thermal Power Plants and wind turbines in MENA and to transmit the clean electrical power via High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission lines throughout those areas and as from 2020 (with overall just 10-15% transmission losses) to Europe.
The technologies that are needed for the realisation of this concept are already fully developed and have been in use for decades. Several studies by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) confirm the viability and usefulness of realising this concept very soon.