Energy Insiders Podcast: Why pulling down poles and wires is a good idea

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Horizon Power’s Mark Paterson explains why replacing poles and wires with solar and batteries is a great idea.

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Horizon Power’s Mark Paterson joins the Energy Insiders podcast to explain why replacing poles and wires with solar and batteries is a world first, and a great idea.

Horizon is pulling down some 54km of poles and wires in the Esperance region and replacing them with distributed energy, in the first reversal of the vast and highly expensive grid expansion that came with the push for “rural electrification”. It is something that many other networks would like to do, but can’t, because of the multiple regulatory hurdles in their way, even though it makes great economic sense.

But Horizon is unique because it is a vertically integrated utility, and doesn’t suffer the same arbitrary barriers between retailers and network operators that sometimes impeded efficient outcomes elsewhere.

Paterson, a former chair of the CSIRO’s Future Grid Forum, notes that Horizon is achieving “demand response” that accounts for 20-30 per cent of peak demand. And there is no reason why what Horizon is doing on small grids cannot be replicated on the country’s biggest grids.

And as Horizon looks to embrace solar, storage, and demand management in its own region, so too is the W.A. government, which is now building a long term plan to facilitate the shift from coal to renewables, and particularly distributed energy.

Plus: All the news of the week, including proposals for new coal, haircuts for wind and solar farms, Snowy’s modelling and Carnegie drowning, not waving

You can find this and prior episodes of Energy Insiders here, along with episodes from Solar Insiders and our EV-focused podcast, The Driven.

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