A lot of photovoltaic (PV) installations were directed by the lure of solar feed-in tariff rebates, but high uptakes have meant these schemes are being phased out. One of the example is the generous solar bonus scheme In New South Wales, which closes on Decemer 31. The goal of every solar power is to reduce power costs as much as possible by optimising consumption of on-site generated energy and to help average out peak generation times for power stations that use fossil fuel.
Here’s an interesting interview to Australia’s energy guru Simon Hackett, who is the executive chairman of ASX-listed battery company Redflow.
What can solar energy — especially home-based generation — do for the economy?
Simon Hackett: Australia has a wealth of renewable energy sources including wind and solar. The problem to date has been that the sun doesn’t shine all the time, and the wind doesn’t blow all the time. Affordable energy storage solves that problem by storing surplus renewable energy so that consumers and businesses can use it when they need it.
What does this mean for the conservation of resources – replace coal, etc.
At the grid level, energy storage lets us time-shift energy, which gives renewable energy sources the ability to replace effectively the baseload electricity supplies produced by fossil fuel-powered generators. This delivers the double benefit of helping Australia achieve its carbon reduction goals and pulling costs out of our energy supply chain. Once sufficient energy storage is in place, the 24/7 availability of renewable-generated energy will start putting downward pressure on the price of electricity, which is great for the economy.
What is the innovation/tech angle behind this?
Australia is uniquely positioned to establish itself as one of the world leaders in energy storage technology. As well as Redflow’s hardware innovation, which includes producing the world’s smallest zinc-bromine flow battery, we have developed a software-based web-enabled battery management system for Redflow’s ZCell and ZBM batteries which let owners both monitor and manage their batteries via the Internet. Continued innovation, at the level of battery development and integration of energy storage with the grid, gives Australia the opportunity to lead the world in this vital technology which can make a significant contribution to global carbon reduction goals.
Just how leading edge are Aussies in this space?
Redflow, a battery company is one of the example of company that have successfully commercialized Australian innovation. Innovation is about more than just good ideas and smart start-ups. It’s about using technology to solve problems, commercializing that solution and collaborating with like-minded companies, so it gets to as many people as possible. Energy storage solves problems at multiple levels – domestic, grid and global. Australia needs to encourage the sort of risk-taking that allows companies change their hand with good business ideas.