Alan Kohler is one of Australia’s most experienced business commentators. Alan has been a trusted source of investment advice to Australians for many years, and in 2005 he founded Eureka Report - Australia’s #1 online investment report. Along with Robert Gottliebsen and Stephen Bartholomeusz, Alan also founded Business Spectator, the popular business news and commentary website. Alan is the regular finance presenter on the ABC News and producer of the popular nightly graph (or two).
Going off-grid may cost a lot of money but the biggest issue is that your solar system will go to waste. In my case, 80 per cent of solar generation would be surplus to my needs and dumped. Far better to use it to displace fossil fuel generators supplying my neighbours.
One of Australia's leading authorities on solar and batteries has found that even by 2020 the economics of battery systems won't add up unless you live in Adelaide or Alice Springs. But they aren't eye-wateringly bad either and that may be good enough for many consumers.
Following on from a look at what happens to your power consumption when you switch off the gas central heater, I’ll now look at what type of battery and solar system might get me through winter without the grid connection.
Contrary to the assertions of some, electricity networks will be vital in any effort to decarbonise our power system. The issue is whether we allow the growth of solar and batteries to be driven by the value they create or their ability to shift costs onto others.
The managing director of one of Australia's major power networks - Jemena - better explains his remarks about those considering the use of solar and batteries to go off-grid, and why customers and society will be well served by using the electricity network to share power.
Diesel vehicle sales have surged in Australia in recent years. Yet as the Volkswagen scandal reveals - controlling their harmful pollutants is challenging. The move to tougher pollution standards requires diesel makers to make compromises in other attributes that could blunt this new found popularity.
While much of the focus has been on Tesla's household Powerwall, it is the commercial-grade 100 kilowatt-hour (kWh) Powerpack battery that will end up transforming grids. Within a few months of launch, orders for Tesla’s stationary batteries hit $1 billion and 100,000 units, the majority being Powerpacks.
Compared to the US, China's rate of metals recycling to overall production is very low. If recycling rates in steel and aluminium could be increased it would lead to considerable energy and emission savings.
A new report charts the incredible cleantech opportunities that represent the upside of coal's demise. But has Australia already missed the boat? One Aussie manufacturer matching it with the Germans in solar-battery technology shows all is not lost.
Every bloke in the street wants to talk about how battery systems like Tesla’s Powerwall could drive mass disconnection from the grid. Yet the painfully slow progress of rolling this out by a utility in a place where it makes great economic sense provides a sobering tale.