Grid Management

Bruce Mountain

Bruce Mountain, Director at Carbon and Energy Markets Australia  (CME), has just completed a study comparing power prices from around the world. Australia's electricity prices have doubled over the last five years, making it near the highest in the world.

Rising electricity prices - how rooftop solar helps

Solar Everywhere Recap with Dr Muriel Watt

Beyond Zero's Anthony & Matt are joined by solar expert and chair of the Australian PV Institute (APVI), Dr Muriel Watt, for the Solar Everywhere Recap show.

In our regular recap shows, we find a common thread in our previous interviews, play excerpts and weave a story in between.
Today's theme is Solar Everywhere. The incredible decline in the price of solar PV has made it an early favourite for the title of "Energy source of the 21st Century". Its success is not only taking energy generation to places it has never been, it is challenging the very nature of energy generation and distribution.
Today we are going to be exploring all the places where solar panels can now be found, and the innovative policy, marketing and finance models that are getting them there. Many of mechanisms we will discuss relate not just to solar PV, but that’s where we will keep our focus today

We recap interviews with Danny Kennedy, Glen Morris, Oliver Yates, Craig Morris and Mark Rayner.

Ian McLeod - CEO Ergon Energy

Ian McLeod is the CEO of Ergon Energy in Queensland, Director of the Energy Supply Association and formerly on the state electricity commission of Victoria.

Ergon Energy is an electricity retailer to homes and businesses in regional Queensland.  Who are responsible for maintaining and expanding the regional Queensland electricity network.

Today in this extended interview Matt Grantham and Anthony Daniele discuss the infrastructure costs associated with running one of the most dispersed grids in the developed world and how roof top solar and battery storage is being increasing used as a way of reducing costs for Qld tax payers. We also discuss the need and likely success of a recent attempt to get a new coal fired power station established in Townsville.

Matt Grantham has written a series of articles in Climate Spectator on this topic.

Queensland flirts with a capacity catastrophe

The alternative options for North Queensland baseload

Craig Morris Editor for Renewables International

Trailer from Craig Morris on Vimeo.

The (not completely serious) trailer for the movie "Welcome to the Energiewende," which can be viewed in its entirety here:

Craig Morris (@PPchef) is an American writer and translator in the energy sector who has been based in Germany since 1992. He is Editor for Renewables International, lead author of, director of Petite Planète, author of the book Energy Switch (2006) along with numerous articles in both English and German on energy technologies and policies.

Brian Somers - Standard Microgrid

Brian Somers founded Solar Head of State after managing a campaign to put solar energy back on the White House for the US based solar company Sungevity. During the campaign Brian was approached by the Maldivian government and given the opportunity to install solar on the Mule-aage Presidential Palace in the Maldives. Since the completion of the project Brian has been working on off-grid remote microgrid projects such as powering a school in Zambia’s Western Province with a non-profit group called Empowered by Light. His passion is entrepreneurship and in addition to managing Solar Head of State, also leads Standard Microgrid, an international microgrid development company, and Volunteer Alliance, an international volunteering network and database.

Simon Mackenzie CEO Vector NZ solar battery leasing

Simon Mckenzie is CEO of Vector, New Zealand’s largest distributor of electricity and gas, 40% of the business in related technology services and products where we are also committed to continued strong growth.

Simon explains that NZ is currently at 70% renewables, which is predominantly hydro.
There are no Feed-in tariffs (FiTs) or subsidies for renewable energy there, so 80% of customers are looking to control or manage their electricity use which can be as simple as turning off lights and moving on to complex building automation systems. Trials have included cloud computing control, time shifting usage and micro wind in urban areas. Vector have found difficulty with Solar Hot Water systems SHW in retrofitting to homes.

Dr Jenny Riesz examines policies to realise 100% renewable energy

Dr Jenny Riesz is a research associate with the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM), at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), based in Sydney, Australia. Dr Reisz’s research examines high penetration renewable power systems, with a particular focus on the design and operation of electricity markets.

She talks to Beyond Zero's Anthony and Matt about the 100% renewable energy models for Australia by Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), UNSW and BZE, and the combinations of renewable energy mixes required. It's critical to transfer away from coal fired power to renewables and entirely fesible to expand the Renewable Energy Target (RET) to 90% renewables by 2030, as proposed by the Greens in the upcoming election. 

Laura Eadie, Centre for Policy Development (CPD)

Laura Eadie is the Research Director for the Sustainable Economy Program at the Centre for Policy Development (CPD). Laura is co-author of the report 'Going solar: renewing Australia’s electricity options', which looks at electricity prices and renewable energy policy, the rapid drop in solar technology costs, and the cost and risks associated with ‘business as usual’.

Going solar looks at the key role rooftop solar will play in our future electricity system, and makes a series of practical policy recommendations to maximise the benefits of rooftop solar while minimising the cost of integrating it into the electricity system.

Download Going Solar report here.

Adam McHugh, Murdoch University


Adam McHugh, Lecturer at Murdoch University, Perth. Adam specialises in Energy Economics, Policy, and Electricity Market Reform. He discusses the sky rocketing electricity prices in WA, vertical integration, merit order effect, reliability of supply, vested interests of distributors, retailers and more.

Adam joins Beyond Zero's Matt, Anthony and special guest interviewer Craig Memery, energy policy advocate with the Alternative Technology Association (ATA). Adam has recently written for The Conversation on deregulation of the energy retail market and the disaggregation of Western Power which was expected to lead to increased efficiency and lower prices due to the introduction of competition, but instead, has resulted in a 48% price rise for the south west of WA between 2008 and 2012, not even including the comparatively small (and mostly compensated for) impact of the carbon tax.

Adam's current projects include

  • Estimation of the carbon price-induced inflation on products using national accounts data.
  • The economics of large-scale solar generation in Western Australia.

Mark Diesendorf UNSW - 100% Renewables

  Mark Diesendorf Image

Associate Professor Mark Diesendorf, Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW, has recently co-authored a report about a 100% renewable energy grid for Australia.

The results of the peer-reviewed study by an interdisciplinary team at UNSW are to be published in the journal Energy Policy. The researchers are Dr Diesendorf, Ben Elliston, of the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, and Dr Iain MacGill of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets. The study titled ‘Least cost 100% renewable electricity scenarios in the Australian National Electricity Market’ can be downloaded here.

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