Australian news, and some related international items

Solar powered vehicles for Australia – energy utilities now supportive

electric-carAustralia Could Be World Leader In Solar-Powered Electric Vehicles Claen Technica, April 12th, 2016 by   Originally published on RenewEconomy

The shift from petrol cars to electric vehicles appears to be more than a consumer-driven,Tesla-inspired phenomenon. The big utilities are also getting on board.

Origin Energy, one of country’s big three utilities, says Australia could a market leader in solar-powered electric vehicles, given the right incentives and policies that could encourage the uptake of renewable energy and force the closure of the most polluting brown coal power stations. “With an already high penetration of residential solar PV systems in Queensland and South Australia and the emergence of home battery technologies, there is an exciting opportunity for Australia to be a market leader in electric vehicles powered by solar energy,” the company says in a submission to the Climate Change Authority.

Nearly one quarter of Australian homes are equipped with rooftop solar, and Australia is seen as the likely first “mass-market” for battery storage – because of that high solar penetration and because of the country’s high electricity prices, courtesy of its high-cost grid.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of the early adopters of electric vehicles are already charging their EVs with their own rooftop solar, and utilities are already switching controlled loads for electric hot water systems back to the day-time from overnight to take advantage of excess solar power.

Utilities say EVs can fill the same function, and the uptake of battery storage could help shift that solar-charging into the evening. And by using rooftop solar, it addresses criticism that EVs don’t really reduce emissions in a coal-intensive grid.

Origin says the potential for EVs is significant, but the take-up so far in Australia has been small, with less than 1,000 vehicles sold up to the end of 2014, although those numbers have since been boosted by the enthusiasm for the upmarket Tesla Model S, and more recently the huge interest in the yet-to-be delivered Model 3.

Origin suggests a range of policies that would help increase demand, such as support for fleet purchases, infrastructure such as charge points, and reductions for stamp duty and registration, along with preferential parking and traffic lanes treatment.

It also suggests electric vehicle sales can be coupled with GreenPower or similar products so that they are immediately powered by fully renewable electricity generation.

Origin also points to the opportunities for Australian industry to become more involved in the manufacture and support of electric vehicle components and the charging infrastructure.

The points made by Origin follow from similar proposals made by the Electricity Supply Council, and buy a consortium of utilities, network operators, advocacy and research groups, and city councils last week………

April 15, 2016 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar

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