- The Powerwall is a 7 kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion-battery system that stores electricity generated from rooftop solar panels (or PV panels) during the day so that electricity can be used at night during the peak-usage times.
Most existing solar panel owners will need to obtain a new inverter to connect with the grid.
While 7kWh will allow for some backup, most households will need to stay on the electricity grid.
- If you already have solar panels, the Powerwall will cost between $12,000 and $12,500 depending on which inverter you choose.
Energy companies are selling Powerwall packages for between $13,990 and $16,500 (GST inclusive) and with consideration to rebates for small-scale technology certificates (STCs).
To me this makes the cost marginal, with a rather long pay-back period, which “may well exceed the warranty period”. However, prices are expected to halve in the next five years. Some are braver:
- Australia’s first household to add a Tesla Powerwall battery can this week begin buying and selling energy on the electricity market, after the addition of a world-leading software program by Canberra company, Reposit Power.
AGL is getting out of the coal seam gas business. Green groups are claiming a victory, but the real reason is that the price of gas is so low they can’t make a quid out of it. So they are taking a $795 million pre-tax write down.
At the same time they are starting up a renewable energy investment fund of up to $3 billion for large scale projects.
- However, despite gushing mainstream media reports about AGL “going greener” the fund aims to do no more than what AGL is required to meet its legislated renewable energy target obligations. It simply shares the cost and risk of those investments with other institutions.
They are an electricity supplier as well as generator, and to date they have had to buy in renewable power to meet RET requirements.
To show that they are genuine, though, AGL have bought a stake in US-based battery storage solutions provider Sunverge, following the purchase of a stake in Australian start-up Solar Analytics, coinciding with the launch of a “solar” component of its smart App.
AGL are also spruiking about the idea of a “virtual power plant”, where they could tap into the battery storage systems of, say, a million customers.
Telstra see solar power and battery storage being bundled with phone and the internet in one service.
- “We see energy as relevant to our Connected Home strategy, where more and more machines are connected in what is called the Internet of Things,” Telstra’s head of new business, Cynthia Whelan says in her corporate blog.
“We are looking at the opportunities to help customers monitor and manage many different aspects of the home, including energy.”
They reckon they are better at servicing customers than the energy utilities.
Simon Hackett of Redflow thinks homes with batteries will stay connected to the grid. The prospect of sitting in the dark during a week of rain is one reason. Also batteries may not be able to supply your peak demand fast enough. That could ruin a party!
Moreover utilities could benefit and pay for access to home batteries to supply peak power and stabilise the grid.
The key is batteries attached to internet-enabled control electronics in homes.
Oil producers, refiners and traders are delivering the same message:
- There are few reasons for optimism. The world is awash with oil. The market is overwhelmingly bearish.
Supply exceeds demand by about 1.7 million barrels a day. Tanks are full and tankers are being hired, filled with oil and anchored.
- Prices will stay low for up to a decade as Chinese economic growth slows and the U.S. shale industry acts as a cap on any rally, according to Ian Taylor, chief executive officer of Vitol Group, the world’s largest independent oil trader. Even refiners, whose profits have held up better than expected, are seeing a worsening outlook.
Here’s the recent price:
And this is how it looked leading up to that dip at the end of 2012:
Yet BP’s annual energy outlook has barely changed after the Paris talks. Emissions will now rise by 23% by 2035, rather than the 25% increase it expected a year ago. Demand for oil will increase, it says.
A report commissioned by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) found that more than half of the mines producing thermal coal for power stations were losing money. A third of all coal mines are running at a loss. Some 60,000 jobs are at stake.
China’s cutbacks are well known. Indian coal imports, after five years of 20 to 30% annual growth, fell by 28.6% in January after falls of 49% in November and 34% in December.
The QRC are calling for taxpayer support – tax relief, subsidies, whatever.
The graph tells the story:
Somewhere around 2005 solar became cheap enough to achieve critical mass. Then it took off.
Grid parity has been reached by solar in 20 American states. Probably make that 42 by 2020.