Power on, my sun

Rooftop so­lar pan­els key to fu­ture

Herald Sun - - NEWS - ROB HAR­RIS rob.har­ris@news.com.au @rhar­ris334

HOUSE­HOLD rooftop so­lar pan­els and more ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances will keep grid-sup­plied elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion sta­ble for the next 20 years — an en­ergy mar­ket op­er­a­tor pre­dicts.

This is de­spite a pro­jected 30 per cent in­crease in pop­u­la­tion. An elec­tric­ity fore­cast up­date from the Aus­tralian En­ergy Mar­ket Op­er­a­tor also pre­dicted peak de­mand on the grid will move to later in the day when there is lit­tle or no so­lar gen­er­a­tion is avail­able.

The shift is fore­cast be­cause of an in­crease in so­lar de­mand as con­sumers be­come more ed­u­cated about house­hold en­ergy needs and costs.

Ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy and bat­tery stor­age ap­pli­ances are also ex­pected to pro­vide con­sumers with more op­por­tu­ni­ties to bet­ter man­age their en­ergy use, the re­port said.

AEMO chief ex­ec­u­tive Au­drey Zi­bel­man said the pop­u­lar­ity in house­hold so­lar use had seen a sig­nif­i­cant drop in their cost. The in­crease in house­holds and busi­nesses in­stalling rooftop pan­els is pre­dicted to re­main strong un­til the late 2020s.

The Elec­tric­ity Fore­cast­ing In­sights re­port, re­leased to­day, found Aus­tralian homes and busi­nesses would be gen­er­at­ing about 20,000 megawatts — more than 10 times the amount of the re­cently de­com­mis­sioned Hazel­wood coal­fired power sta­tion — by 2037.

By that sum­mer the max­i­mum Vic­to­rian en­ergy de­mand is fore­cast at 9758MW, 15,276MW in NSW and 10,021MW in Queens­land.

Ms Zi­bel­man said the en­ergy sec­tor’s tran­si­tion to a low car­bon fu­ture would pro­vide im­por­tant op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges for con­sumers and the en­ergy in­dus­try alike.

“The en­ergy in­dus­try may lever­age op­por­tu­ni­ties to as­sist con­sumers in man­ag­ing costs through more tar­geted prod­ucts and ser­vices,” she said.

But she warned the en­ergy sec­tor was likely to re­quire in­vest­ment in gen­er­a­tion, net­work and de­mand so­lu­tions to en­sure re­li­a­bil­ity and se­cu­rity of sup­ply.

Ms Zi­bel­man said house­hold bat­tery stor­age will be­come “far more preva­lent” with the up­take of rooftop so­lar while en­ergy ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances would be­come a more nor­mal part of life.

The gov­ern­ment plans to im­ple­ment reg­u­la­tions en­sur­ing coal-fired power sta­tions give at least a three-year no­tice period to pre­pare the mar­ket be­fore their clo­sure.

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