Australian news, and some related international items

Solar has smashed the centralised energy model, but can it bridge the social divide? — RenewEconomy

As rooftop solar booms in Australia, a closer look at the distribution of “prosumers” across the network reveals emerging inequalities that must be addressed. The post Solar has smashed the centralised energy model, but can it bridge the social divide? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Solar has smashed the centralised energy model, but can it bridge the social divide? — RenewEconomy

February 27, 2020 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. The tenant/landlord rooftop solar electricity problem may be overcome to the satisfaction of all concerned.

    The major hurdle is the upfront cost.

    The capital costs for electricity from fossil-fueled power stations via the distribution/transmission networks are recovered through quarterly bills over the life of the equipment but anyone who wants rooftop solar electricity has to pay the capital cost up-front.

    If the landlord could pay the capital costs over a period of say 10 years then they could recover their costs over the same period from the tenants. The tenants would save enough on their electricity bills to offset the increase in rent. Tenants could come and go with no risk to the landlord.

    It’s an old story, lack of a level playing field for the generation and distribution of electricity. Meg Lees’ renewable energy target (RET) solved the problem for home owners but not for tenants.

    A level playing field is fundamental to a competitive, efficient market.


    Comment by Dennis Matthews | February 28, 2020 | Reply

  2. The high uptake of rooftop solar in outer suburbs vs inner and middle suburbs may be due to the problem of shade.

    In the outer suburbs the vast majority of building rooftops would be unshaded by other buildings.

    In the inner suburbs the opposite would be the case and the tall buildings would not have enough rooftop area to generate sufficient rooftop solar electricity. The best solution in this case is to reduce demand by energy efficient building design.

    The middle suburbs would have less high-rise buildings than the inner suburbs but owners would be concerned that this could change quickly. Solar access needs to be guaranteed for at least 10 years.


    Comment by Dennis Matthews | February 28, 2020 | Reply

  3. The reference to Gill Adams article on smart meters is 7 years old. It would be useful if someone could give an update.

    Here in SA nothing seems to be happening, which is probably just as well because the whole National Electricity Market (NEM) model was developed in SA by the then Liberal Government Treasurer Rob Lucas who is the current Liberal Government Treasurer. When Lucas put together the rules for the NEM the then Olsen Liberal Government had been elected on a promise of not privatizing the State owned electricity trust (ETSA). As soon as they were elected they set about privatizing ETSA.

    Thanks to Rob Lucas, Australian NEM electricity generation, distribution and transmission companies, many of whom are foreign owned, get a guaranteed return on investment – the more they spend the higher their profits. If the Federal Government disallows an investment the electricity can challenge them in court knowing that their court costs can be recovered through the consumer who also pays for the Government’s court costs.

    The aim of smart meters should be to help consumers manage their demand. The simpler the cost signal the more effective the management.

    Anyone who has a wood open fire or slow combustion heater will understand the benefits of knowing how much wood has been consumed, how much they have left, and how much it has cost. Every time they chop some wood, bring it inside, and set the fire they are reminded of how much it is costing.

    A domestic smart meter should give an instantaneous reading of how much electricity has been consumed and how much it has cost – keep it simple and avoid bill shock.

    The meter should be conveniently located inside the house.

    Time of-use tariff should apply immediately.

    The smart meter should not be used to advertise, coerce or otherwise annoy the user. It should be wholly and solely for clearly informing the consumer about their consumption and it’s cost.


    Comment by Dennis Matthews | February 28, 2020 | Reply

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