Friday, September 26, 2014

Renewable Energy News Coming Out Of Australia

Some Good/Some Not So Good

First The Good News
Giles Parkinson & Sophie Vorrath | -- "South Australia sets 50% renewable energy target for 2025-- .. up from the 33 per cent target that it has already met, six years ahead of scheduled date of 2020... South Australia will only meet its target if the Federal Government maintains the current Renewable Energy Target Scheme arrangements."

Now The No So Good News
The Commonwealth of Australia is made up of six states. South Australia (SA) is only one of them.

Australia's Prime Minister, Tony Abbott addressing the U.N. climate summit on Tuesday indicated he's not too peachy keen nor entirely onboard with 'South Australia'. According to the article, "The green paper – as we outlined on Tuesday – is almost entirely focused on the ability of the fossil fuel industry to extract coal and gas."

Sounds similar to what goes on between states and the federal government here in this country. Some states have greater economic priorities when it comes to fossilized fuels then others.

While I was researching ..
I came across this. Can energy utilities keep their customers, or will they flee the grid?.

It went on to say, "Now that the cost of delivery of that electricity has risen so high, and cheaper alternatives are emerging, will the so-called “democratisation of energy” cause a fatal blow to the incumbent’s business model?"

Regarding that. Here's something to think about. It costs oodles of money to maintain a untold number of electric poles, transformers, generators and wires. As customers start to trickle off the grid, via individual alternative devices, potentially huge amounts of electrical energy income could be lost. Thus while costing electrical utility companies the same to maintain while they would be receiving less in return. Not a very good scenario for future profits.

Another issue to consider is huge costs associated with restoring power in severe storms Not only do utility companies have to bring in linemen from out of state to work overtime, pay for their expenses but all the while losing sales of electricity the entire time that the lines were knocked out.

A Better Idea
Forward looking electric companies might consider turning some profit by installing and leasing solar units to their customers. There a few advantages to this.(1) They still get to collect the full amount for the monthly lease even when power goes out.

(2) Even if solar panels only provide some of the basic needs like heat, refrigeration and a few lights, there is far less an immediate need to restore power right away. I would think it would take a lot of pressure off complaining customers who scream about not having any electric at all (sometimes up to/over a week in some cases). Thus the need for fewer linemen in order to restore power as quickly as they need to now.

(3) Eventually in some areas the utility could install less expensive lower capacity transformers. It would allow for lower generating capacities as well, thus lowering their number and fuel costs for them.

(4) The more solar panels they lease to customers the more stabilized their projected expenses will become.
     (a) At the current time fuel costs to run the generators vary all over the place.
     (b) When 10,000 or more are without power.. zero power means zero income.
     (c) Less generators ='s less breakdowns ='s less shut down every year for service.
     (d) As more expected and unexpected demand increases less substations would be needed along with the expensive uphill battles with the public when the need of more high tension towers arises.

Less generators, less need for new substations and all the other stuff I mentioned requires less direct employees. Also less lawyers that tend to piss people off when wanting more lines. That too requires a public relations effort larger then it would have to be.