Powering energy changes

March 16, 2017

GV Community Energy chief executive Geoff Lodge said Telsa's suggestion of a battery solution for Australian energy would encourage Australian alternatives to step up.

US billionaire Elon Musk has become the catalyst of a powerful solution for the Australian renewable energy movement, which one energy expert believes will have far-reaching benefits for Australia and the Goulburn Valley.

With his proposal of the installation of a battery farm to fix South Australia’s energy issues, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has started a discussion that could fast-track Australia’s reliance on renewable energies.

Through social media, the tech entrepreneur suggested the idea of storage technologies that could take power during off-peak hours and put it back into the grid when needed.

GV Community Energy chief executive Geoff Lodge said the discussion was something that should be taken seriously, and it would most likely provide the platform for cheaper, local alternatives to step up.

‘‘We’re on the cusp of rugged change and the exciting thing about the discussion of finding a solution is the recognition that battery storage has an important part to play,’’ Mr Lodge said.

‘‘It needs to be an integrated solution, and battery storage is part of that equation combined with the generation of energy through wind and solar.

‘‘Battery technology is reliable and it’ll be interesting what the market can flesh out for a solution to be found in Australia.’’

It comes amid heated political debate over energy security, cost and reliability, but Mr Lodge said the discussion was promising and not a conversation that would have been divulged five years ago.

The issue has been further embraced by the Victorian Government, following an announcement on Tuesday to invest $20million to support large-scale energy storage initiatives across the state.

In the Goulburn Valley, 15 per cent of households have installed solar power and the City of Greater Shepparton has recently closed a tender for the construction of a solar farm in the region, potentially producing 15000 megawatt hours of electricity per year.

Mr Lodge said residential utilisation of solar energy would potentially grow to 80 per cent of suitable houses in the next 20 years, placing the region in a favourable situation to embrace large-scale renewable energy projects.

‘‘Renewable energy is cheaper than investing in new coal power and you’ll find it will be extremely difficult to find willing investors in new power plants,’’ Mr Lodge said.

‘‘Solar is by far the best resource we can tap into here, and that’s what we’ll see more of, and we’ll see a combination of batteries to complement that solar.’’

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