Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Prime Minister aware of the importance of distributed solar energy

Julia Gillard made two key points – apart from drawing attention to the massive overspend on poles and wires – about the energy systems of the future in her speech on Tuesday.  One was about the introduction of smart technologies, and the other was about the power of choice. “People should be able to use what they want when they want it, and cut out expensive services they don’t need,” 

new technologies are now offering alternatives and distributed generation has become cost-competitive and reliable

Do energy consumers want a smart grid, or no grid at all? REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 8 August 2012 Robin Gudgel, the founder of Californian energy firm Midnite Solar, has been helping people provide their own electricity – mostly with renewable energy sources and batteries – for their homes and small businesses for several decades. …. now it’s more of a mainstream trend – people living where the grid doesn’t reach, and some who want to look after themselves because they want to make a statement about their green credentials, or their independence.

“Very seldom do you get people who get mad as hell about electricity prices and go off grid.  It simply costs too much,” Gudgel told RenewEconomy during a recent visit to Australia. That may well be the case in mainland USA, where electricity prices are relatively benign.
But in Hawaii, where electricity prices are three times higher, customers are getting as mad as hell and are reportedly leaving the grid in droves. So is the US military…… Energy independence is the big new strategic play of the US military brass. And it’s on the wish list of consumers.

Why does this matter to Australians? Well, it turns out that Hawaii and Australia have a lot in common. Both are islands, both have plenty of sun, and both have really high retail electricity prices – Hawaii because it relies on imported fuel and Australia because of its massive network infrastructure, much of which may be surplus to requirements – and both have falling energy demand.

And both have energy companies warning about the “death spiral” of the utilities business – which is what is expected to happen when increasing numbers of consumers choose to either leave the grid, or significantly reduce the volume of electrons they draw from it because other technologies, such as solar PV, offer them a cheaper alternative. How regulators,
utilities and consumers in those and other countries react to the challenge of dealing with the death spiral will shape the future of our energy systems.
In Australia,  Prime Minister Julia Gillard has now brought that issue to the political front page by focusing on the massive infrastructure costs and the apparent greed of the government-owned distributors…… Gillard made two key points – apart from drawing attention to the massive overspend on poles and wires – about the energy systems of the future in her speech on Tuesday.  One was about the introduction of smart technologies, and the other was about the power of choice. “People should be able to use what they want when they want it, and cut out expensive services they don’t need,” Gillard
said…..
new technologies are now offering alternatives and distributed generation has become cost-competitive and reliable…..
Unless the electricity industry, the regulators and the politicians
get this right, we’ll all end up being as mad as hell, and exercising
our power of choice. Technology will make that possible.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/do-energy-consumers-want-a-smart-grid-or-no-grid-at-all-50222

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August 11, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy

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