Australian news, and some related international items

Tesla to build 250MW “virtual power plant” in South Australia — RenewEconomy

South Australia unveils plans to build 250MW “virtual power plant”, linking household rooftop solar and battery storage, in what it says will be world’s biggest. It will involve 50,000 homes, each with 5kW rooftop solar and a Tesla Powerwall 2.

via Tesla to build 250MW “virtual power plant” in South Australia — RenewEconomy


February 5, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. This project sounds good, in fact some of us in SA have being try to get solar panels on rented housing, including Housing Trust homes, for almost 20 years.

    Given the Weatherill Govt’s justified attacks on the privatised electricity industry, it’s hard to understand why the Government will not own the panels+battery systems which are being installed on Government-owned homes. Their media release refers to increasing competition in the industry. Won’t Gov’t owned electricity generation and storage do exactly that.

    They say they are looking for an electricity retailer to deliver the program. But a simple retailer will not have the ability to manage a generation+ storage system. This means they will need a gentailer (generation+retailer). If they get a gentailer, then they won’t be increasing competition, they will be giving more market power to a company that already has too much market power.

    A simpler scheme that introduces badly needed competition would be where the Govt gets a local solar panel installer to install the panels. No retailer (especially not a gentailer) need be involved. The rooftop solar electricity system will save the occupant a lot of money. The occupant (who may change over the years) will pay off the system over, say 20 years, through the usual billing process, just like they have always done except the amount will be considerably less. This avoids the biggest impediment to installing solar, the up-front costs. The same system could apply to any rental accommodation.

    This raises another issue. Will owners of the solar+battery systems still have to pay a fixed charge for existing infrastructure (power stations, transmission, distribution, etc) even if they don’t (or very rarely) use it?

    SA will be voting in a new govt starting in 4 weeks time (early voting counts for about 25%). The Weatherill govt needs to reconsider important details of its “virtual power station” project. At the moment the proposal sounds very flaky and doesn’t install confidence that claims of more competition and lower prices are anything other than pre-election spin.

    Dennis Matthews

    Comment by Dennis Matthews | February 5, 2018 | Reply

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