Innovation Down Under

GreenTech Media had a great article this morning about some of the clean tech innovation going on in Australia as relates to clean tech.   I encourage everyone to give it a read.

Among all the initiatives under way in Australia,  those I find most interesting are surrounding storage.  Here in the U.S. we’ve seen some innovative government programs to encourage installing solar, especially in California and New Jersey, but we’ve done very little to incentivize storage which I believe is the key to building a distributed, elastic, reliable grid .

Here at Genability we spend all day looking at electric tariffs and the one theme that emerges over and over is the huge range in electricity prices depending on time.  Time of day, time of week and time of year all have a huge impact on what we pay for electricity.  For Southern California Edison’s Time-of-Use Domestic Tiered Electric Vehicle Charging tariff there is an over 50¢ per kWh (10¢ vs. 60¢) difference between Summer On-Peak and Summer Super Off-Peak prices.   If any consumer could squirrel away that cheap power from the middle of the night to meet demand during the day, then you’ve got a chance for enormous system-wide savings.

The price of power indicates the utility’s cost to procure that power.  Power storage would allow us to eliminate the most expensive power, the power that comes from gas-peaker plants that only operate 10 days a year or power that is shipped thousands of miles (with the attendant transmission loss).   If we could do that, we could save everyone lots of money.

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