Australian news, and some related international items

Rooftop solar energy is meeting peak demand, especially in South Australia

Rooftop solar panels: our new peaking power generators REneweconomy By  on 14 August 2012 Demand management has finally entered the political lexicon, as politicians to the left and the right realise that a 20-lane wide power grid has been built to service our energy demands, when one half that size might just as easily fit the bill.

Politicians are reacting because the increasing cost to consumers is finally being passed on to the ruling class in the form of a cost to their political capital. But amid the name-calling, the blame-gaming, the party one liners, and the ducking and weaving, comes the realisation that there are some seriously good alternatives. But what is not widely accepted is that many of these solutions involve renewables.

The common thinking among many energy experts and energy ingénues is that renewables such as wind and solar are intermittent and unreliable, and therefore cannot be relied upon for “baseload” generation, let alone switched on at will to meet the rising peaks.

The CSIRO would like to differ. In fact, says Glenn Platt, the head of the local energy systems team, distributed generation such as tri-generation and co-generation, but also in the form of rooftop solar, can play a crucial part in meeting peaking demand. Far from contributing to the problem, renewables such as solar can be harnessed to provide a solution.

“The traditional view would be to say that solar generation doesn’t have a huge part to play in peak demand,” Platt told RenewEconomy in an interview. “But if you look at peak demand on the wider electricity market, it coincides very well.”

The Australian Energy Market Operator noted in a report last week that in the state with the highest amount of solar PV, South Australia, where two out of five houses have a rooftop system, 38 per cent of the solar output could be considered to be meeting peak demand……


August 14, 2012 - Posted by | General News

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