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MEDIA RELEASE: People power and energy disruption

Posted 31 May 2018 - 10:46am

It’s not technology or economics slowing Australia’s switch to renewable energy – the main barrier is organisational, says Dr Mark Diesendorf Education Program Leader at the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) and speaker at the National Forum: Expanding Local Renewable Electricity for Households, Precincts and Communities.

The Forum at UNSW on 6 June will gather some of Australia’s renewable energy experts to discuss next steps towards the nation expanding its local renewable systems. “We need org-ware not hardware,” says Dr Diesendorf.

“People have the power to disrupt the electricity sector through local renewable networks, household solar generation and battery storage as well as joining community renewable energy and virtual power plants, but attachment to dying business models, existing organisations, outdated market rules and electricity tariffs are slowing growth.

“Public support and investment in rooftop solar in Australia is strong with an uptake of about 100 megawatts per month, and there are huge opportunities to contribute renewable energy to the grid and reap the financial benefit, but institutional change is critical to this being a success,” Dr Diesendorf said.

“Currently, for those feeding renewable electricity into the grid, payments are relatively small and fixed but people should be rewarded appropriately according to when contributions are made and when power is used, so benefits can increase. If this occurs, uptake will grow in both the retail and commercial sectors.”

Dr Diesendorf says Australia is falling behind other countries, with commercial and residential precincts and community micro-grids in places like Denmark and Germany making renewable energy contributions and being rewarded accordingly.

“When you fly into Sydney you can see how much roof space is available to create significant renewable, roof-top power, and as a community we can work together. Virtual power plants, where households with rooftop solar can come together to bid a price, like a conventional power stations, are part of the near future and where significant energy disruption can occur.”

Find the full program here

Media contact: Fran Strachan, CRC for Low Carbon Living Communications Manager, 0429 416 070