Tuesday 20 March 2018


Here's more good news on the climate change battle front. Last month, Fairfax Media reported on a multi-million dollar project predicted to massively reduce electricity usage during peak demand periods.

The scheme is focused on a somewhat unlikely target - backyard swimming pools. However, I was surprised to learn there are more than 1.4 million swimming pools in Australia accounting for an astonishing 10% of the average total demand on the electricity grid, and if all pool filters were running together, it would require the equivalent of two Liddell-sized power stations running at full capacity.

Clearly there is huge scope for savings, and the trial by Pooled Energy, which is supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, would involve about 5000 homes and see householders hand over control of their backyard pools to return power to the grid during periods of peak demand.

According to the company's co-founder this can operate like a battery, reducing or increasing load as needed by providing demand management using an off-site smart network that collectively controls power usage of separate pools, making a major impact on energy load.
At the same time the Climate Council, famously de-funded by former Prime Minister Abbott in his war on all climate change related matters, has remained active, and recently released a positive report on progress towards the transition to renewable energy.

The key findings of their report, which focuses on battery storage include:

- The cost of lithium-ion batteries down by 80% since 2010, with costs expected to halve again by 2025.

- 6,750 new household batteries installed in 2016, with estimates that 20,000 were installed in 2017.

- Renewables now provide 16% of Australia’s electricity.

- Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory are also investing in grid scale battery storage technology.

- Federal, Queensland and Tasmanian governments are considering developing pumped hydro projects.

- Australia could reach 50% renewables by 2030 without significant new energy storage.

- Australia must reach zero carbon pollution well before 2050 to effectively tackle climate change.

More cause for quiet optimism.

 -John Edwards

 This article was originally published in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on March 12, 2018.