Hunt says "inevitable" large numbers will quit grid with battery storage | RenewEconomy

Hunt says “inevitable” large numbers will quit grid with battery storage

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Hunt says declining costs of battery storage means it is inevitable significant numbers will quit the grid. He plans to accelerate deployment of storage, and says renewable energy target will be used to force coal generation out of the market.

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Australian environment minister Greg Hunt says it is inevitable that significant numbers of consumers will leave the grid in coming years, and repeated his vow to help accelerate the deployment of battery storage.networks

Hunt was asked on ABC TV’s Lateline program on Tuesday – following a segment on a couple in the Blue Mountains going off-grid – if he thought that significant numbers of consumers would follow.

“I do. I think it is inevitable,” Hunt said, before noting that Australia already had the highest penetration of rooftop solar in the world – an average 15 per cent across the nation.

“Increasingly we will see the adoption of battery storage, which is the key thing to enable people to go off the grid. This is clearly the future,” Hunt said.

“The debate is how long it takes and the task for government is to help bring that forward.”

Indeed, two big international battery storage developers have chosen Australia to be their global launch pad for their battery storage initiatives. This includes Tesla and California counterpart Enphase Energy, which describes the Australian market as the most promising in the world.

Not everyone, however, agrees that consumers should be encouraged to go off-grid, and Hunt’s comments could be seen as controversial if that is what he is urging.

The reality is, however, that unless Australia’s high electricity prices, mostly in the form of inflated grid costs, can be addressed, then that is exactly what consumers will do. Most people argue, however, that the grid should be used as a “cheap battery” for all.

But that cannot be achieved, some suggest, unless the network owners (some of them state governments wishing to sell or lease the assets) accept a writedown in their value, or vastly different revenue models that will result in reduced income. The CSIRO has warned that up to one-third of consumers could quit the grid if the networks do not get their tariffs and business models right.

Greg-Hunt-Liberal-MP-climate-change1Hunt repeated his comments to RenewEconomy last week that he will use the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to help accelerate the deployment of battery storage in Australia.

Already, new battery storage offerings are being made that undercut the cost of grid-only power, and within a few years this is expected to be at a price point that offers quick pay-back, making battery storage a mass market.

This rapid uptake of battery storage means that the energy business model will shift to “decentralized” generation from the traditional centralized model. And that has major implications for the already surplus capacity of large coal-fired generators.

Hunt said that there would be no government money to support the closure of coal-fired generators, despite calls from some major utilities, such as AGL Energy, for that to happen.

He said that the renewable energy target would act as a “market forcing” mechanism that would see more large-scale wind and solar projects, and a doubling of household solar, to force out coal.

“There will be natural consolidation in the sector,” Hunt earlier told the Investor Group on Climate Change conference in Melbourne.

He pointed to the experience of Alinta, which had told him that the impending closure of the Playford and Northern brown coal generators – the only coal generators left in South Australia – was the result of the RET, and the more than 40 per cent of electricity demand now filled by wind and solar.

“In a sense, the RET is working as a market forcing mechanism,” Hunt said.

The minister noted that there had been a “capital strike” by utilities in recent years, because of their concern that the original target of 41,000GWh could not be met.

That capital strike has continued since the target was cut to 33,000GWh, but Hunt said there were signs that this was coming to an end, despite warnings from the likes of AGL that uncertainty was still there.

He pointed to the Ararat wind farm, although that is largely funded by a contract with the ACT government.

Other projects considered likely to progress include an expansion of the Greenough River solar farm in Western Australia, and some solar projects in Queensland, where Ergon Energy is holding a tender, and Origin Energy says it is looking for potential sites. Some wind farm developers, such as those behind the Ceres project in South Australia, and Goldwind in NSW are also seeking power purchase agreements.

Hunt repeated his confidence that Australia would meet – and even better – both its 2020 and the newly committed 2030 emission reduction targets, which is for a 26-28 per cent reduction over 2005 levels.

He was also confident of agreement in the upcoming Paris climate talks, where he expects a treaty to be agreed that signs up all nations to a target allowing a rise in temperatures to a maximum of 2°C over pre-industrial levels, and sets a series of five-year reviews that will encourage nations to ratchet up their commitments to meet that target.

Meanwhile, Labor leader Bill Shorten said he welcomed the “muzzling of the far-right’s ideological attack dogs” in the clean energy debate, since Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister.

He said he hoped that the debate could move beyond the “binary argument of whether renewable energy is ‘good’ or ‘bad’” and have a contest of policy ideas. But he noted that renewable energy investment had trailed other nations in recent year, had fallen 88 per cent and caused thousands of job losses.

He re-iterated Labor’s proposal for a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, but gave no further detail on how that might be reached.

But chances of any bipartisanship on the issue of ambitious renewable energy goals appears as far away as ever. Hunt retorted by saying that target would cost $85 billion.

Hunt puts the cost of reaching around 23.5 per cent renewables by 2020 at $15 billion, and somehow arrives at a figure nearly six times higher for a doubling of that target, when the costs will likely fall. It also ignores the fact that some coal-fired generation will have to be retired by 2030 and new capacity will be needed. As BNEF reports, solar and wind provide by far the cheapest option for new generation, a point underlined by UBS recently.

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  1. trackdaze 5 years ago

    My, my what an about turn we have from the environment minister. Refreshing to hear a politician for once confirm the bleeding obvious when stating the existential risk posed by the future to the network.

    Its on you networks (mostly state govt) to redefine your structures and pricing to retain the broadest participation in the grid. You cant charge more if people value your product less.

    • Jacob 5 years ago

      The only question now is, will voters who are off-grid be forced to help pay for said gold-plated grid.

      • phred01 5 years ago

        yes kites have been flown in that if the grid passes your place there will be a connection charge

        • Jacob 5 years ago

          If that happens, we might see factories and warehouses move far away from the grid.

          It would be bizarre, but that is corrupt politicians for you.

      • MaxG 5 years ago

        I won’t and will drum up support for a class action! 🙂

  2. Mike Dill 5 years ago

    I hope this scares the big 3 into thinking about what will happen if the tariffs continue to bloat in the same way as they have.

  3. john 5 years ago

    Sooner or later one of the major coal gen sets will need a rebuild, then the realisation will be that a more economical solution will be to go wind and perhaps solar as an integrated unit.
    With the whole of the south coast of Australia blessed with abundant wind and wave energy this is one area that should be utilised.
    Inland areas with high yield for solar irradiance are a given for solar.

  4. Rob G 5 years ago

    Hunt also alluded to the axing of ARENA and CEFC was still on the cards, but said that the current Senate position wouldn’t allow it and hence he said he’d use them as best he could. Really he sits on the fence, between the right and the moderate sides. How much easier is it for Mark Butler, who can talk straight and know that his entire party supports him.

  5. Zvyozdochka 5 years ago

    According to a Lateline tweet (I’ve not seen the i/v), Hunt also said;

    “there could be a “dramatic breakthrough” allowing fossil fuels to burn with near zero emissions”.

    • Matthew Wright 5 years ago

      Well he’s well known for being a gagster!!

    • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

      Extraordinary … wonder where Hunt gets half of it. Notice when something nags his core beliefs he waffles and gets that funny look.

      • mick 5 years ago

        also prefaces the reply with -well

    • phred01 5 years ago

      Alice in wonderland view

    • Hendo 5 years ago

      Interesting. There was a claim years ago that new techniques could scrub CO2 from spent coal gases but it seemed to go nowhere.
      If Hunt is right, why would he then predict such high defection from the grid? We could burn coal until the cows came home…
      I don’t believe it, nor do I believe in effective sequestration.

      I would also be wary of the current storage offerings, I think there are alternatives being conjured up as we watch.

      • Zvyozdochka 5 years ago

        There were pilots to feed algae on boiler exhaust, that then would be converted to liquid fuels.

        I think the problem with these plans, that while it was possible to make it work (never at scale), the carbon loop wasn’t closed as the liquid fuel was burnt elsewhere.

      • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

        You can scrub some CO2 from coal gasses. The cost is prohibitive.

        The current storage offerings are of course not the last development. There will be better and cheaper ones of course.

        The alternatives are being worked on and a lot of the developments that will lead to future improvements have been widely reported.

        There are all sorts of alternatives like flywheel systems that have been in development for decades. In fact one is being readied for space missions.

        I wouldn’t be wary of them – but be aware that they are the first round of the viable home products. You need to establish which system is best and if this is the right jump-in point for you.

        There are quite a few options out there right now, or about to hit the market.

        There are storage systems that have been in production in low volumes for years that are now being repackaged to be easier to sell for home storage, and production volume has been raised to bring the price down accordingly to make them a viable option.

        Being wary of lithium-ion batteries is a bit odd though. After all hundreds of millions of us use them every day for energy storage.

        The science is well known. The issues are in the best management of when to store vs when to charge vs when to feed-in to the grid. This is software and is changeable, either by settings or by software update on the systems I have investigated.

    • Ian 5 years ago

      I think VW has already Bagged that mountain peak! Maybe Mr Hunt needs to visit Dr Snip to get zero emissions.

    • MaxG 5 years ago

      Just another proof on how brain-numb these guys are!

    • phred01 5 years ago

      Alice in wonderland Thought bubble

  6. Matthew Wright 5 years ago

    In the southern states Victoria, Tas, SA bottom of WA. They won’t quit the grid. They’ll instead quit the gas grid.

  7. bedlam bay 5 years ago

    Hunt had to turn 180 degrees from Toxic Tony’s “environmentalism is socialism”. Hunt was a caricature of a dodgy politician (like Cormann and Hockey ). Sniff the wind and turn.

    • Ron Horgan 5 years ago

      Rejoice that the armada is being driven to the promised land by the winds of good fortune. Admiral Turnbull with an eye patch to the retrograde telescope commands the pressganged crew to sail on with all haste.
      Grumbles from the poop deck and muted cheers from erstwhile mutineers.
      The soap opera we had to have. Yippee!

    • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

      Sure that’s one possible explanation.

      Quite frankly I actually don’t care.

      The thing is that the government is no longer fighting the inevitable future.

  8. Bighead1883 5 years ago

    The morning after #Libspill2 I tweeked this meme up to date

  9. Ashley Ryan 5 years ago

    If consumers leave the grid in droves as I’m sure will happen, then the utilities companies will simply have to bear the costs and write of billions or even go bankrupt. They made a very bad investment decision. Blind Freddie could have foretold what was to come. They have had their collectives stuck very firmly in the sand.

  10. phred01 5 years ago

    With a country with bags of coal we are the most expensive for electricity. My cousin who lives in Montana a sparsely populated state and has coal for electricity generation. She pays 30$/mo for the meter & connection but 1KWhr cost 0.1$ peak. So it is obvious consumers are being gouged here. Electricity consumers who can will desert the grid this will leave a smaller customer base to support an aging grid.

    • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

      No we are paying 4-6 c/kWh for the actual electricity.

      So I dispute that we are paying more than anyone else for coal power.

      Unfortunately we are paying an awful lot for shipping & handling, marketing, discount schemes for contracting etc.

      The aging grid is not the issue. The peak capacity of the grid is an issue, and that’s where our money is going. PV & storage is actually the answer to peak capacity.

      In fact even if we payed 0c/kWh for the actual generation our power bill would be higher than the US.

  11. Miles Harding 5 years ago

    Whether Hunt’s [grid operator] nightmare scenario comes true or not largely depends on the behavior of the network operators themselves.

    If they continue resisting the future and being complete asses, then this is inevitable. However, I have some hope that we can have a system that engages with the empowered customer and takes the journey to the future alongside them.

    I will settle for nothing short of a complete re-definition of the business so that the interests of the customers are first and foremost. I should note that the viability of the network is likely one of those customer interests, but it is a servant, not a master.

    • Math Geurts 5 years ago

      Indeed, but as in my citation above: “it is important to note that even though solar customers use their own power, they still use and rely on the utilities’ infrastructure. Therefore there should be a way to balance infrastructure costs for all customers, including those without solar”

      • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

        Solar customers reduce most of the daytime peak. What they don’t reduce is the last few hours of it when the sun sets and people arrive home from work.

        The battery systems are all designed primarily to load-shift the daytime solar capacity to the 2 hours of peak currently not covered by solar.

        So solar so far has reduced some of the gas peaking costs, but not reduced the infrastructure costs.

        Solar + Storage reduces the infrastructure costs.

        With storage the utilities should certainly be paying a premium for any feed from the customer during the afternoon peak times.

        The other source of infrastructure cost is the few days a year when the A/C load is high. These days are prime days for solar generation and again the Utlilities should be paying a premium for any feed-in from the customer.

        So no – the solar customers with storage should be rewarded for reducing the cost of infrastructure.

        The very costs of infrastructure that are 50% of your electricity bill and the reason for most of the price increases that people are so upset about.

        Balance through reqrding those who are actually putting in the effort to fix properly what the utilities are deliberately doing the wrong way.

        (And yes this is all backed up by real-world studies by Ausgrid)

    • PLSee 5 years ago

      It has been fascinating reading this article and comments, as I have been having exactly this discussion this morning.

      My view is that it is inevitable that change will occur, with the take-up of different forms of renewable energy and storage options. Many people view the network operators as the enemy and want to escape from them. I think it is in everybody’s interest for them to stay but evolve with us.

      It is obvious to me that those of us in high density urban areas are better off with the grid but rural and outback areas are better off with their own personal or local micro-grid systems. With some of the large storage systems available now, coupled with renewable energy options, we could release the network operators from having to provide expensive, high maintenance poles and wires to distant areas.

      Network operators could engage with individuals, private companies and governments, both local and state, to be more flexible with local rental of their wires. I don’t see why it’s not possible to provide access to micro-grid and power sharing systems with whoever wants to use their wires. As new estates are built, wouldn’t it be to everyone’s benefit if they could have their own, integrated system of power sharing built in? They could all have solar panels, maybe small (aesthetically acceptable?) wind turbines located around the area, and a couple of large industrial energy storage systems that everyone could contribute to and draw from.

      The power generation and network companies must engage positively in how we move into the future of energy supply. If they can be seen as part of the solution, one of “the good guys”, it will be to everyone’s benefit. If instead they just shriek shrilly at government to stop progress because it’s not fair to them, thereby remaining “the enemy”, they will be left behind.

    • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

      Many of the retailers have realised this very point.

      They are starting to offer storage options because they know that if they don’t sell the systems then someone else will.

      They are also offering lease options and similar schemes to stay part of the user’s supply situation.

      This all comes down to breaking the monopoly.

      BTW it’s not Hunt’s scenario. It’s the one that several people have seen coming for the last few years.

      I’ve sat in Ausgrid presentations where a battery manufacturer was explaining their product to (mostly) industry people, including people from IPART. I asked the question about cost and load-shifting viability. I therefore know this has been known for years in the industry.

  12. Math Geurts 5 years ago

    Lucky Australia?

    Andrew Campbell, executive director at the Energy Institute at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, said the most likely result of the final vote, expected sometime around the new year, will be some kind of compromise between the most extreme proposals.

    “I couldn’t have imagined these types of proposals getting any attention five years ago, but the solar industry has been so successful that there are real concerns about being fair to all customers,” he said

    Campbell said that it is important to note that even though solar customers use their own power, they still use and rely on the utilities’ infrastructure. Therefore there should be a way to balance infrastructure costs for all customers, including those
    without solar.

    “If the utilities proposals are adopted as is, it could have a very significant impact on
    residential rooftop solar,” he added.

    • Sim 5 years ago

      The utilities will save a fortune not having to supply power to isolated areas like in the past. They will not need to supply and monitor long supply lines to low consumption areas.

      • Math Geurts 5 years ago

        Agree, but how much of Australia’s power is supplied by long lines to such isolated area’s with low consumption? As long as they use a local grid also solar customers have to pay for that.

        • Sim 5 years ago

          Not sure, but it must be the lowest profit area. Many isolated properties will be better off on solar. I am building in the countryside 45 min. from Bris. and it is borderline 20mtr from a transformer. And if you add EV in a few years it would be worth it.
          You can do without much power consumption at night if you have a good fridge 3 or 4 star, heat pump hot water daytime only and gas for cooking. Use an induction top single burner to cut the gas by 80%. Gas companies rip you off with the bottle hire 45kg $120 pa. So Bunnings will be necessary with several 8.5kg bottles. No testing bottle, they cover it.
          I am told connection to power is around $5000. Maybe more with an extra pole. Off grid is borderline financial but great to stick it to them. I am thinking 10kw and will go on grid if they will accept feed in a few years from now.

          • Math Geurts 5 years ago

            So, remote living, unprofitable, customers leaving the grid and going solar plus battery is at the end the best solution for all (also the remaining) customers, but most propably not “large” numbers will quit the grid?

          • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

            What is happening already is the establishment of micro-grids.

            The remote communities will get a solar and/or wind generation system and storage.

            This is cheaper than running the grid a long distance.

            This can be supplemented later with a low capacity link to the grid for backup. The low capacity grid connection is a lot cheaper to run.

            Basically when the micro-grid battery is running low the line will top up the battery.

          • Sim 4 years ago

            I believe that to be true. It should save remaining customers as they often subsidise the isolated properties. Otherwise the government subsidies them and then charge us all more taxes.

  13. Ken Dyer 5 years ago

    Try reading between the lines. It is “inevitable” that battery storage will help people to leave the grid, but the grid will remain. Fossil fuel coal electricity generation will be here for a long time yet, and because the Government will not support rehabilitation works, it will be around even longer while the very last gram of profit can be wrung out of the network. So Hunt has said nothing, and anyone who has been sucked in by his comforting tones is an idiot. You can fool some of the people some of the time. Mr Hunt.

  14. Geoff 5 years ago

    9 months ago there was no chance in hell Hunt would have even uttered the words “battery” or “renewable”

  15. Terry Leach 5 years ago

    Inevitable? It should be his goal to prevent that happening! We need solar owners to stay on the grid to cushion the blow for those remaining, particularly the poor and renters. To have enough PV generation in winter to be largely self sufficient there will be excess generation in summer. Off grid it is wasted, on grid it displaces fossil fuel generation and drives down wholesale prices. To keep PV owners on grid, we need to move solely to recouping network costs via consumption charges not fixed charges. That way PV owners will make some contribution to the grid when they have small consumption in winter and depress prices in summer. The alternative is no contribution to the network, higher wholesale prices and higher GHG emissions as PV generation is wasted. The FF generators would love to see PV owners go off grid.

    • Ian 5 years ago

      Storage is the key to renewables deployment and at the moment is the most expensive component of a distributed, renewables energy system. Fixed charges initially will discourage household battery uptake but then as battery prices drop fixed charges will encourage battery uptake and grid independence. To smooth their way grid operators would be better off switching from fixed connection fees to peak demand fees. This way they can be fairly remunerated for their capacity investments and consumers can be fairly charged for their variable demand on the network. Elderly pensioners sipping electricity off the grid, struggling young families suckling electricity regularly from the grid will pay little for their peak demand. Nasty holiday house owners and crass electricity guzzling air con owners will pay dearly for their intermittant enjoyment of the grid at the collective’s expense. Instead of $1.50 daily connection fee which would run to $550 a year discouraging new solar and battery uptake. The potential to save up to $550 a year on peak demand charges will make the economical case for battery and solar much better. People will not ‘ defect’ from the grid, they will stay and play. Actually batteries are pretty ineffective storage devices but they are fantastic at peak shaving and at providing power at high peak capacity demand situations. Think of the cranking amps of the common car battery. A grid with access to numerous batteries will not experience capacity spikes costing thousands of dollars they can access home batteries to cover those spikes at a fraction of the cost. Such a grid can say bye-bye and so long to those rorting gas peaking plant operators.

      Hunt and his fence sitting, budget conscious cronies need not spend an extinct cent on battery storage, they just need to force the utilities to change their tariffs from fixed charge to peak demand charge and require them to compensate people for the use of their batteries for high peak capacity demand availability.

      • nakedChimp 5 years ago

        That would be sensible.. so, 25% chance of happening, at best.

        • MaxG 5 years ago

          Na… nil % 🙂

    • MaxG 5 years ago

      I have offered to give my excess PV for free to the needy — and was laughed at. However, I won’t give it to greedy corporations. Common-sense is not being used when it comes to this topic. And common-sense is the antidote of corporate profits. The governments looking out for its people, should buy the grid back, and get rid of corporate leeches.

      • Terry Leach 5 years ago

        Couldn’t you have chosen a different blood sucking parasite to insult the gentailers? 😉

      • phred01 5 years ago

        no profit for the greedy network & retailers

    • Phil 5 years ago

      The hills clothes hoist mounted self contained solar panel energy source with batteries (for renters and the elderly or something similar) will not be far away.The new solar panels are already 40% more power for the same square meterage and many of these individuals use way less than 10kwh per day.The products to meet this groups needs will certainly follow. The grid like coal will stagnate. And besides look how many die from those nasty power poles because the corporates ripped obscene profits out instead of putting wires underground. And all street lights can be solar with breakway style poles . I refuse to co-operate with these nasty grid people.

      • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

        The grid provideers are using a combination of monopoly position and legislated enforcement of return on investment to maintain the rip-off.

        The solar/battery technology breaks the monopoly and it is beyond the government’s power (yes I know) to stop the take-up without straight out declaring PV and storage illegal.

        The best way to protect those not able to go solar/storage is to hasten the breaking of the monopoly.

        Without a huge change the grid providers will continue to extract blood from everyone.

        The grid providers have the alternative approach of installing battery storage and eliminating the grid upgrades that are largely to handle the peaks that can be better handled by storage & PV.

        What most people don’t know is that the Federal Government (the Labor one) funded a trial to look at reducing the cost of electricity by reducing peak load. The success story from that study was Solar & storage.

        So far from being a new thing, Ausgrid actually has trialled home storage units working with Solar PV to achieve a 14%+ reduction in peak load, using Australian made battery technology.

        The solution therefore to the electricity price issue is storage to reduce peak load. It doesn’t matter if it’s on grid or off grid. Anythign that takes load off the grid at peak times is a reduction in expenditure required.

        Any reduced expenditure on the grid is reduced justification for price per kWh to IPART, and therefore a reduction in the cost of electricity to those on the grid.

        Best if the battery users stay on-grid and sell back in peak times but either way it’s a win for the less well off.

        • Math Geurts 5 years ago

          The position of grid providers: “there should be a way to balance infrastructure costs for all customers, including those without solar”.

          • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

            The grid providers have put up all sorts of objections to solar, even made representations to the government that the grid can only handle 20% solar.

            The grid providers position is basically to argue for anything that allows them to continue to make profits from making as much capex as possible.

            IPART is legally required to approve pricing that covers any capex that the grid providers ‘reasonably’ spend. And the arguments for ‘reasonably’ by the grid providers do not get tested against anything.

            So what will be argued by the grid providers is not the same as the reality or the best business case. It’s likely to be wrong in fact.

            They have already been caught out arguing for increased generation capacity based on increased consumption at a time when consumption was falling.

            They will argue for increased cost of technology that reduces their capex if they can get away with it.

            They will not be entirely worng. Parts of the network need some adjustment for having generation in places where previously they had demand, and the generation flowing out now exceeds the capacity to cover the previous demand.

            In fact this whole issue has been examined by Ausgrid and the material is available online.

        • phred01 5 years ago

          Tell me where I can buy @4-6c. No I pay 30c per kwhr. As a Customer my cousin pays 10c/kwr

          • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

            Well yes of course you can’t buy it wholesale at the generator gate.

            But the cost component for generation is 4-6 c/kWh in what you use.

            The rest is unrelated to the method of generation.

          • phred01 5 years ago

            Cost of `generation really isn’t an issue to retail cost. Most it here is padding between the grid operator and the retailer. Montana is basically a resource state with population density of Australia. The question is if the cost /khr is 1/3 of what is here. It’s not rocket science that we as customers are being robbed blind. Even the minister is a acknowledging the danger of mass defections. What will happen rural areas will be the first to feel the pain then grid operator will want to off load those parts of the network where regional councils may the be left to manage mini grids. BTW it is well known that Powercor would like to give Otway rangers back to the govn’t because of high maintenance cost……..The writing is on the wall for the current grid operators / retailers

          • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

            The cost to the consumer here is also padded way beyond the 4-6 c/kWh. Our padding is way beyond anything I have heard of in the US.

            This is my point though – we don’t pay for electricity generation and the discussion of relative costs for different fuel sources are just a wast of time and a distraction from the real issues.

            The (often inflated) costs of distribution and the mark-ups for retail incentives are the main issue.

            In some cases, and especially in parts of the US the (inflated) costs of plant construction are a huge issue.

            Parts of the US are paying for millions of dollars of studies to examine the licensing of a nuclear plant that is not only the expensive way to produce power but is probably not going to be built anyway.

            Nuclear cannot compete on price even if the fuel cost was 0. Nuclear cannot reduce the cost of electricity either because the cost of generation is not the major factor in unit the price to the consumer.

  16. Mick Perger 5 years ago

    He`s up to something …..Just got too figure out what it is …..I`ll get back too you …

  17. Phil 5 years ago

    Revenge may be the motive to go off grid for many as they have been forced to pay 200-300 % increases in a decade plus smart meter charges of up to $200 every year.The damage has been done. You also have to ask if utilities and other government services have been outsourced ,privatised or sold off and are no longer public owned why do we need 3 levels of government to manage what governments often no longer provide ?

    • MaxG 5 years ago

      Spot on!

    • Sim 5 years ago

      Yes, good point. Cut all their wages 30%, take one level of government and sack 30 % of paper pushers. I thought computers were supposed to make things more efficient not less.

  18. newnodm 5 years ago

    The only people who believe living off grid is a good idea are people who have never lived off grid.

    Most solar owners with batteries will find that paying a grid fee to stay connected is money well spent.

    • Richard Werkhoven 5 years ago

      Sure I’d stay connected for now.

      But the reality is that the battery storage systems previously available were much more expensive for the same capacity as you can get as of the current round of systems being brought to market.

      The solar systems that used to be installed when going ‘off-grid’ became a trendy thing to do were much smaller than those you would install now.

      Generally things have moved on.

      So yes off-grid was previously a very difficult and unreliable thing to do unless you spent big $$.

      Mind you it was done successfully and there are people living off-grid because the cost of going on-grid is too high.

      That said a single Tesla battery module will not be enough for the average household to go off-grid and is not intended to do so.

      The only people going off grid in the short term with these systems are those with enough money to take a stand.

      The on-grid use will have significant effects on the grid and on the politics though.

    • Phil 5 years ago

      Yes i would have to agree with that. I purchased a block of land with no power poles going past so i could never connect to the grid and find my off grid system cost of $2.20 per day all up prepaid for a minimum of 10kwh per day good value.My concern was the fixed pole and wires and access fee costs would keep rising, plus i’m not a fan of poles and wires above ground which are not only ugly but kill people in vehicle accidents .Time will tell which of the value propositions of on grid / off grid/ storage options become dominant.

  19. Phil 5 years ago

    Lucky Australia indeed . The current PEAK rates for energy in Victoria on a standing contract are here . And yes inc 10% gst it’s 146 cents per day supply charge, plus 36.4 cents per kwh for peak electricity and $100 -$200 per annum for your smart meter rental depending on your provider. Have a look yourself , people are REALLY paying this. You have to love donating to the corporate profits if your in some parts of Victoria and be unfortunate enough to be on the grid.

    • Phil 5 years ago

      I just calculated my off grid (min 10kwh per day) system costs $2.20 per day all up prepaid .For the same money assuming a $150 per year smart meter fee i would get the grand total of 1 kwh per day for the same money. And my system has triple redundancy with 99.9999 % uptime and has less power spikes and surges than the mains

  20. JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

    There’s an excellent discussion of grid defection issues here, from RMI

    and an excellent summary of it here, by Craig Morris

    Basically, *actual* grid defection is undesirable, but utilities should embrace the threat for the sake of their own survival: roll with it instead of trying to fight it.

  21. Simon Hackett 4 years ago

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