Going off grid? Microgrids. Renewable energy, storage

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Going off grid? Microgrids. Renewable energy, storage

#1 Post by Vee » Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:55 pm

This item in Renew Economy, by Giles Parkinson, includes links to SA.

Why new housing and whole estates may go off the grid.
Imagine this: Newly built housing estates that are not even connected to the main electricity grid. Solar and battery storage come standard in new homes, included in the purchase price and mortgage, and effectively providing free electricity.
According to players in the battery storage and smart technology markets, it is already happening and housing developers in Australia are exploring exactly these sort of options.

“This is technology of now,” says Philip Keogan, the head of Australian operations for US-based storage software company Sunverge, pointing to developments already under way in California. “We are beyond pilots, beyond trials, this is the technical reality today.”

Not only are developers looking to keep new estates off the grid, but dozens of councils around Australia are looking to do the same with existing communities. They are exploring ways of sourcing all their electricity needs from renewable energy and are considering ways they can buy back the grid from the local operators, just as is happening in Europe and in the US.

And remote towns, up to now reliant entirely on imported fossil fuels, are looking to dump that reliance by using battery storage and renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy.

This dramatic change from the centralized energy model that has dominated for the past century or more is not just the pipe dream of developers and technologists. The network operators themselves – particularly those in regional areas – recognize it as reality. They are just trying to figure out how they fit into this new reality.

Richard Turner, the head of Adelaide-based Zen Energy Systems, says numerous housing developers want their new developments to be fully sustainable and micro-grid based.
This is not just for “green reasons” or a point of difference, although that plays into their thinking. It actually makes economic sense. It costs millions to connect a new housing development to the grid, but renewable based micro-grids can deliver electricity for an effective levellised cost of energy in the low to mid 20c/kWh.

That is significantly below the retail rate currently charged for grid-based power, and will likely fall rapidly, as the cost of storage falls and the cost of renewables continue on their downward trajectory.

Turner says he expects to announce his first projects in coming months.
He hinted at this in a recent speech in Adelaide....
The SA government appears to be fully supportive.
Regulatory exemptions have been obtained in some instances. Different options are being considered on the local energy model, and who acts as the electricity supplier.

It could be the property developer, or a specialist energy services company, or the local network – after all, houses will still need to be linked to each other and community-based facilities such as renewable generators and storage, even if they are not connected to the main grid.
The next step, though, will be even more dramatic, and may come sooner than expected.
“Many housing developers nationally are coming to us now to tell us they want their developments to be fully sustainable and micro grid based and offer a long-term low cost of renewable energy,” Turner says.

Each locality will focus on its own advantages, be it in wind, solar, biomass, co-generation, or hydro, or a combination of some or all. “These will become standard for new developments and townships, particularly in regional areas,” Turner says.
Turner says there are numerous councils now looking at the possibility of buying back the grid, or cutting their links altogether. That is a more complicated transaction than new housing estates, because of the sunk investment from networks, but it is sure to become a reality.

This has been recognised by SA Power Networks, which says it makes sense for remote communities to look after their own needs.
Turner says, communities that are already off-grid, but are dependent on diesel or gas, are also looking to ditch fossil fuels and use renewables and storage instead.

Coober Pedy in South Australia is currently building a project lead-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which is looking to integrate 2MW of solar PV, 3MW of wind, and a 2MW, 750kWh battery storage set up.
This could account for 70 per cent of the town’s needs.
Renew Economy:
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/why-new ... grid-27409

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Re: Going off grid? Microgrids. Renewable energy, storage

#2 Post by rev » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:07 pm

Coober Pedy in South Australia is currently building a project lead-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which is looking to integrate 2MW of solar PV, 3MW of wind, and a 2MW, 750kWh battery storage set up.
This could account for 70 per cent of the town’s needs.
And will this all be run by the existing electricity provider in Coober Pedy? If you think we are paying an arm and a leg here in Adelaide, Coober Pedy has it much worse.
Something to do with a previous mayor I think who did some dodgy deal with the provider.


But back to topic..did anyone get a look at those in-home power/battery banks they've developed? It was in the US I believe, didn't get a good look and have forgoten the name.

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Re: Going off grid? Microgrids. Renewable energy, storage

#3 Post by Vee » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:41 pm

rev wrote: But back to topic..did anyone get a look at those in-home power/battery banks they've developed? It was in the US I believe, didn't get a good look and have forgoten the name.
Powerwall, thanks to Tesla.
Sounds good to me!

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/06/tesla ... australia/

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Re: Going off grid? Microgrids. Renewable energy, storage

#4 Post by fifty » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:15 pm


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Re: Going off grid? Microgrids. Renewable energy, storage

#5 Post by Vee » Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:11 am

fifty wrote:Signed up already

http://www.teslamotors.com/en_AU/powerwall
Great!
Powerwall and an affordable EV (Tesla clone as pricing drops) looks very appealing in the near future.

Do you currently have solar panels installed?
What size installation will you need to run your Powerwall?

As for EVs and charging...
Look at the inroads and lessons learnt in the early adopter stage in the U.S. Eg quick charging standards and progression of a national network.

Green Car Reports:
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/109 ... -us/page-2

The race is on for building a network of charging stations eg along highways in the SW of WA and the more high profile Tesla-inspired model for intrastate travel, connecting the three eastern states!
The race to build Australia's first electric car highway could be won by WA, with a plan to build a network of charging stations throughout the South West.
ABC:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-21/w ... ar/6032678
16 planned EV charging stations between Melbourne and Brisbane by 2016?
SMH:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-21/w ... ar/6032678

The charging standard issue:
Renew Economy:
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/austral ... dard-91073

New jobs, new industries?, clean energy, impact on the grid?, revitalization of regions, tourism...
... the next 3-5 years should be very interesting.
And SA?

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Re: Going off grid? Microgrids. Renewable energy, storage

#6 Post by claybro » Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:43 pm

Vee, Hate to burst your very enthusiastic electric bubble, but there is a reason electric cars are still not in widespread use, and it does not involve the spacing of recharge stations....it is still the batteries. Whilst storage capacity has increased greatly, no one from Teslar to Toyota seem to mention in their sales pitch that the battery banks have a very limited lifespan, and are VERY costly to replace....in other words, a few short years of driving and you might as well throw away the car. As for the "powerwall" battery banks for the side of solar connected houses....same problem of limited lifespan and still prone to EXPLOSION under certain conditions., it simply is still not safe to store so much electricity in tight urban environments with current technology.
As for the electric highway in WA....I for one would be happy if they focused even on reliable phone covererage beyond 60km from Perth....Currently it is a joke!

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Re: Going off grid? Microgrids. Renewable energy, storage

#7 Post by Vee » Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:45 pm

Thanks, Claybro, I admit I am very keen but I still prefer a more optimistic outlook on advancements and innovations in clean energy and storage, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and lowering our carbon footprint. Global initiatives are heading in this direction.

Electric vehicles are not yet in mass production but car manufacturers are coming on board. A lot can happen in the next 5 years. Powerwall has excited interest in affordable renewable energy storage and less reliance on centralized power distribution.

Recent item in Renew Economy ....
Origin says future split between grid and solar + storage
Origin Energy has become the latest big Australian energy utility to admit that its future is split between the traditional grid-based assets and distributed generation, where consumers continue their rapid uptake of rooftop solar and, soon enough, battery storage and electric vehicles.

In a major presentation to analysts and institutional investors in Melbourne on Wednesday, Origin Energy said it intended to become the biggest installer of rooftop solar in Australia.

Even though 1.4 million homes had already installed solar, it said there were still at least five million homes (both owner-occupied and rented) that could add solar in coming years. This would be followed by battery storage and electric vehicles, along with smart meters and other technologies that its consumers would be demanding in coming years.

Origin Energy is just the latest utility to recognise that future growth lies in distributed generation. AGL Energy said its growth would lie in solar and storage, and international utilities have recognised the same...
Renew Economy:
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/origin- ... rage-14381

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Re: Going off grid? Microgrids. Renewable energy, storage

#8 Post by claybro » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:23 pm

Vee ,I am also hopeful that we are able to move away from reliance on fossil fuels, but my concern comes from the fact that there has been no acknowledgement thus far, that in moving to consumer generated energy, no one seems to acknowledge that the onus of repair/ maintenance/replacement of these very expensive generation and storage units is borne by the individual that purchased them. No acknowledgment that these units currently have a very limited lifespan, and no acknowledgement that without the gernerous feed in tarrifs, paid for by people who currently use only fossil fuel generated energy, the whole equation is unworkable. I am not quite so optimistic that individual generation of energy will be viable in the long term, despite some corporate players trying to make a buck in the interim. I am also concerned that SA sailing off down the renwables path has set us up for huge energy price increases into the future and lack of supply security on the back of Chinese manufactered materials.

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Re: Going off grid? Microgrids. Renewable energy, storage

#9 Post by mdbmarco » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:53 pm

Signed up already as well!

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