Are renewables the solution to avoiding more blackouts in Victoria? Ministers to plot Australia’s energy future

A state and territory energy ministers meeting in November will gauge Australia’s readiness to meet electricity needs this summer.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor called the November 22 COAG Energy Council summit after warning that Victoria once more faces “a real risk” of blackouts.

In the lead up to Anzac Day this year, approximately 200,000 Victorians experienced blackouts when the grid failed to meet demand.

The blackouts followed the failure of two coal-fired power stations during consecutive days of 40.8 and 42.8°C.

Ageing coal-fired power plants to blame

EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn power station and AGL’s Loy Yang A station were both operating at less than usual output during the Victorian outages.

While the federal government has indicated that coal-fired power stations are the solution to the grid’s reliability, others believe grid-scale renewable energy and battery storage is the future.

New coal-fired power plants are problematic. Not only do they pollute the atmosphere, but they are also so costly they need government underwriting.

Earlier this year, the Morrison Government shortlisted 12 candidates for its Underwriting New Generation Investments program. These represent a combined 3,818 MW of new generation.

Five proposals are for gas plants, with six for pumped hydro and storage. The list also includes the ‘Battery of the Nation’ scheme, where Tasmania’s pumped hydro storage capacity backs up the national grid.

National Energy Guarantee revisited?

Ahead of the November summit, several states have indicated support for revisiting the shelved National Energy Guarantee (NEG) policy developed by the Turnbull Government.

The NEG emphasised grid reliability and lower emissions. Importantly, it placed the responsibility for both on energy companies.

The policy was technologically agnostic, meaning companies could use any generation source, including coal or solar power, as long as they met the NEG’s targets.

The NEG was ditched following the Liberal Party leadership coup that resulted in the removal of Turnbull as PM.

Beat the heat with solar-powered aircon

While politicians battle it out on the national stage, there are things Australians can do at home to cut power costs and reduce the strain on the power grid.

A good way to save electricity costs and protect against the inconvenience of power outages is to install solar panels and home battery storage, such as the Tesla Powerwall 2 home battery with blackout protection.

Offset costs and lessen the load on the grid by running air conditioners on solar panels during the daytime, and on battery power during the evening from stored excess solar power. Installing a solar system is one of the easiest and most effective ways of significantly reducing your power bills.

Call us today for a free consultation to help you size a solar system, pick the best brands and to provide a personalised quotation for your home:

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