Something has to.
Elon Musk is now working on batteries that will serve the home solar market. This has the potential to make genuine off grid living available to a whole new class of households, possibly even tenants. Wouldn’t that be something.
Musk’s technology is only one aspect of the big move to sustainables. Not only is the tech becoming rapidly more efficient and affordable, there’s a massive aversion factor.
I’m in the midst of an ongoing electricity hijacking case. It is not isolated and obviously illegal behaviour, but the system to address it is woeful. At this stage I’m still waiting on advice from a financial advisor who is snowed under, it may also involve legal proceedings. It’s unclear as to whether I have to press charges or the State does.
The Senate enquiry being held at the moment is in relation to pricing only. Its scope doesn’t cover my circumstances but it does cover those of a lot of other people who have experienced incredible bad behaviour, loading bills, overcharging and effectively holding households to ransom. When private utilities’ customer base bolts away from them, they’ll have only themselves to blame.
In connection with this article I was searching for the recent report that regional Queensland is looking to invest a billion dollars in a solar thermal plant. It was funny seeing the results. For a while there, I wondered if certain large companies are google bombing. Searches for solar plants returned a bunch of solar panel sales sites and a number of Origin Energy links that led to pages describing their huge gas turbines in Queensland. And the fact that they also own fracking interests. And indirectly, that they’re in bed with multi-nationals with reputations for signing public/private deals and syphoning millions out of the public coffers.
Gee, I wonder why they didn’t upgrade the grid to handle solar feed in when they had the chance. For ten years. With all those millions of taxpayer dollars. Funny that.
Lismore and Townsville are building huge solar installations, including that solar thermal collector. That’s base load solar, as piloted in Spain. If anywhere on the planet has enough sunshine to escape dirty fossil fuels, Queensland would have to be it. If only there were a way to harness the power in storm surges, we’d be set. Distributed power generation can meet the needs of many local and regional communities, but the batteries price reduction is the final nail in the utilities’ coffin. It puts off grid power capacity in the hands of many more people in the suburbs and towns. At that point continuing with the current business model will mean utilities are openly holding the remaining customers on the grid hostage with ever increasing prices. Nobody’s going to put up with that.
Other companies are also getting into the battery market. Redflow is making a new technology available to miners as well as households. Yes, you read that correctly. Even mining companies are now building their own sustainable energy arrays. That photo of the Crescent Dune setup is a system built for a mining outfit.
Regardless of the Senate Select Committee results, the behaviour of privatised utilities is so consistently bad it is sure to be a political issue until local and State Governments start to back community level developments and rein in the vultures. Local co-operatives like that in Lismore are the beginning of a stampede. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The private utility companies do have a way forward here, by spending the money needed to update the grid, where it is actually necessary and in reconsidering the extortionate fees and charges. Whether it’s greed or stupidity that’s keeping them from doing that is anyone’s guess. Everyone else is doing their level best to make those companies in their current form obsolete. Sustainables employ many more people than the old fashioned system did and more of them locals, that’s three levels of win.
Personally, I wouldn’t shed a tear.