A recent report on the ABC Radio suggests that those who have solar power could pay 50% of those without. The average 3kw system will pay for itself in around 4-5 years.
Listen to ABC Podscast or read the transcript
Energy investment of up to $1 trillion needed by 2050
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Australia’s electricity networks will need up to a trillion dollars of investment by 2050, regardless of whether consumers are providing their own energy or buying it from the grid.
That’s the view from the Energy Networks Association and the CSIRO, in an interim report aimed at helping the industry transform over the next decade.
They say the costs of solar energy and storage are falling faster than expected, but their increased use must be accompanied by changes to regulation and pricing, to protect vulnerable consumers who can’t access new technologies.
From Canberra, Naomi Woodley reports.
NAOMI WOODLEY: The electricity industry is trying to see the future and in a market that’s rapidly changing, the CEO of the Energy Networks Association, John Bradley is sure of one thing.
JOHN BRADLEY: We’re expecting to see a lot more of the decision making being done by customers, and customers deciding what technology they install.
NAOMI WOODLEY: The association has teamed up with the CSIRO to develop a 10 year “roadmap” for the industry as it deals with the rise, and rise of solar panels.
JOHN BRADLEY: Provided we’ve got the pricing right and it’s fair and efficient, then those people that are installing solar, they’re not only taking up a new service that helps them take control of their energy use, they’re also participating in the grid and helping to take pressure off the network.
NAOMI WOODLEY: The CSIRO has mapped out four different scenarios. One where consumers “set and forget” their energy needs, the rise of the actively involved consumer or “prosumer”, another where people leave the grid altogether, and lastly a market of 100 per cent renewables.
The CSIRO’s chief economist for energy is Paul Graham.
PAUL GRAHAM: By 2050 if you don’t have solar you’re going to be paying a bill somewhere around $2,000 a year, for the average consumer, but if you have solar, you’ll to be paying a bill about a thousand dollars less.
NAOMI WOODLEY: More consumers are expected to install battery storage, and the current cost of storage and solar panels is 20 per cent lower than the CSIRO forecast it would be just two years ago, and it’s continuing to fall.
Chief economist Paul Graham says that will help to drive down the cost of maintaining traditional networks.
PAUL GRAHAM: Where we have a lot of solar in the future, we need to add storage to that so we’re not so reliant on the grid and the grid can be built more efficiently.
NAOMI WOODLEY: The Energy Network Association’s John Bradley says despite the rapid change in the industry, there’ll always be a need for a central grid.
JOHN BRADLEY: The best value they’ll get out of their solar is usually by selling excess energy back into the market. For those reasons you need to have a grid in the middle which is enabling all the customer choices in that future energy system.
NAOMI WOODLEY: This report is the mid-way point of the roadmap program. The final report will be delivered in a year.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Naomi Woodley with that report.
Source – ABC RADIO – AM with Michael Brissenden – 3rd December 2015
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