Australia’s energy markets are on the cusp of rapid change, but it is not just the prospect of individuals quitting the grid that represents the biggest challenge to industry incumbents: it’s the possible defection of whole towns and communities. The creation of micro-grids is seen by many leading players as an obvious solution to Australia’s soaring electricity costs, where the grid has to cover huge areas, at the cost of massive cross-subsidies that support it.
The major network operators in Queensland, NSW, South Australia and Western Australia see micro-grids as an obvious solution to the challenge and cost of stringing networks out, sometimes more than 1,000km away from the source of generation.
In Western Australia and Queensland, these subsidies amount to more than $500 a household. The cost of service to regional consumers in Queensland is far above the cost of service to those in the south-east corner.
But micro-grids are not just about grid defection. While it will make sense for those towns and communities at the edge of the network to become self-sufficient and disconnect entirely, most micro-grids will remain connected to the network, helping to reshape a centralised grid to one focused on more efficient decentralised renewable power generation sources and storage.
Renew Economy: Giles Parkinson: 13 Oct 2015
Key Words: Climate Change, technology
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