Richard Di Natale - the party leader living off the grid | RenewEconomy

Richard Di Natale – the party leader living off the grid

The Greens leader chose to go off-grid 10 years ago, largely because of the huge costs of connecting his then weekender to the grid.


Greens leader Richard Di Natale chose to go off-grid 10 years ago, largely because of the huge costs of connecting his then weekender and now family home to the grid.

di natale

The utility wanted to charge him $15,000 to connect to the grid – even a decade ago, so Di Natale and his family decided to for solar, battery storage, and some back-up power on their 50 acre farm in the Otway Ranges near Melbourne.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to convert the sun into useable energy,” Di Natale tells One Step Off The Grid’s Emma Sutcliffe in an interview.

“Of course, as someone’s who committed to the environment and committed to sustainability, the idea of not having to rely on brown coal to generate power was very appealing to me and it’s a lovely feeling that we’re not contributing to another hole in the ground every time we flick a switch.”

Di Natale says the biggest drawback of living off-grid is heating, but despite the initial anxieties about maintenance, equipment upgrades and some other ‘mild annoyances’ he’d always choose to live off-grid.

“I see an energy future that will be distributed. We currently have a technology that’s challenging the existing business model, it’s turning it on it’s head and threatening the big power companies who have been these centralised sources of power distributed across the nation.

“So we’ll start seeing a more decentralised model that will put control in the hands of the consumer who’ll be able to access battery storage and decided how and when they’ll access the grid and give them a lot more flexibility.”

For the full story, and the details of his system, please go to our new website, focused on the consumer, One Step Off The Grid.

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  1. Rob G 5 years ago

    Together with the Labor party we may see a lot of positive initiatives come next election. Some I’d like to see is:
    • a push towards electric cars and a tightening of petrol run cars.
    • support to Australian battery manufactures to grow and infiltrate the communities
    • more help for homeowners to switch to renewables
    • All government/state vehicles to go electric – from rubbish trucks to busses.
    • Carbon foot print labelling and possible penalties – produce local or pay.
    • Shut down coal fire power stations
    that’s just for starters.

    • Maurice Oldis 5 years ago

      very much agree Rob

    • Steve159 5 years ago

      You left out one important point
      * Fund migration strategies and training for mining, coal employees to transition to renewable energy industries.

      • Rob G 5 years ago

        yes another good one. From some of the stats I see for every job lost in coal there are at least 4 jobs created in renewables. Mainly because machines do most of the work in coal.

  2. John P 5 years ago

    Richard and Emma are both welcome to the club. And I expect that the club is not all that exclusive. We ourselves went off grid some 23 years ago and have variously used PV, wind and hydro as inputs. I’m aware of a very large number of families living off grid by choice across rural OZ. For some, it is a ‘lifestyle thing’, for others a political statement.
    I tend not to expect much from the practitioners of the political world. Any real attempt to address climate change will impact on fossil fuel exports and no political party is going to take that risk. Of course, the decision will probably be taken out of their hands ultimately. The world is watching.

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