Articles on Electricity networks

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Bringing down over-investment in electricity networks is a complicated area for regulators. Flickr/Indigo Skies Photography

Bringing an end to electricity network gold-plating

A senate interim report suggests the retrospective write-down of state-owned gold-plated electricity assets. Good luck with that.
NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance with the 2014 budget. An economic analysis has found electricity revenues have been crucial to keeping the NSW budget in surplus in recent years. Paul Miller/AAP

Power privatisation is bad for the NSW budget bottom line

We found that without state-owned electricity revenues, the NSW Coalition government would have struggled to avoid recording deficits in every budget since its election in 2011.
Money spent on helping consumers reduce demand means less money spent on substations and other infrastructure. Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons

A simple rule change can save billions for power networks and their customers

Incentives for cutting peak power demand are cheaper than building ever more infrastructure and sending power bills ever higher. The industry has a chance to embrace this new approach - but will it?
Roof-top solar panels are just one part of the micropower revolution. Presidency Maldives

Move over big power – the micropower revolution is here

There is no shortage of shouting and dire warnings about the state of the climate and our need to phase out fossil fuels. But there is a more silent revolution happening too — in micropower. Small-scale…
Should you be paying for big energy users? Bill image from www.shutterstock.com

RET changes may leave households to foot the bill

The federal government has now achieved passage of its Direct Action plan through the Senate. Some wheeling and dealing with the cross-benches was required of course – but while the government may oppose…
The government’s energy green paper is seeking reform on electricity prices and gas supply; but avoids climate change. Rae Allen/Flickr

Energy green paper scores ‘pass’ on electricity, ‘fail’ on climate

The Energy Green Paper 2014 released this week by federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane provides more clear direction and coverage of critical policy issues than did its 2012 predecessor. However, while…
Water storage is used to smooth the output from hydroelectric power - but it can be used with other renewables too. Martin Kraft/Wikimedia Commons

How pushing water uphill can solve our renewable energy issues

More and more renewable energy sources are being plugged into Australia’s electricity grids. South Australia, for example, will get 40% of its electricity from wind and solar once the Snowtown wind farm…
You spin me right round, and power the lights too. Simon Syon

Relying on renewables need not mean dealing with blackouts

For all the huge, hulking buildings of concrete and steel that house coal, gas or nuclear power stations, or towering 100-metre-tall wind turbines, generating electricity is in fact a very precise and…
Will transmission charges cloud over Germany’s solar industry? Ben Birchall/PA

Grid access tax may cost more in lost renewables than it earns

Germany, one of the world’s leading users of solar power, is set to charge people generating their own solar-powered electricity for access to the national grid. The move is part of the package of reforms…
Workers assemble air conditioners at a factory in China earlier this year. EPA/SHEPHERD ZHOU CHINA OUT

Australia’s rising air con use makes us hot and bothered

With temperatures starting to climb, it’s time to think about how we will stay cool this summer. The stakes are getting higher when it comes to hot weather. As the Australian Medical Association has warned…
Community activists in Boulder, Colorado rally outside Xcel Energy’s Valmont coal plant. Flickr: 350.org

What Australia could learn from a US energy uprising

Around the world, people concerned about global warming and wary of higher energy costs are turning away from big power distributors in favour of local and “distributed” energy technologies and services…
How does the power get from there to here? alkhodarev/Flickr

Explainer: how does the electricity grid work?

Where would we be without electricity? Assuming that you own a fridge, there won’t be many points in your life when you aren’t making use of it. But what do we mean when we talk about the electricity grid…
South Australia produces plenty of wind power, but it might become more than the grid can handle. Flickr/holidaypointau

Pumped hydro energy storage – making better use of wind

In late September, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released a report investigating how wind can better be integrated into the power grid. AEMO reports that as more wind turbines are deployed…
Blackouts remind us what life was like before cheap, readily available electricity - but it’s time to think about the true price of our power. Candle in the dark image from www.shutterstock.com/Ronen

Save now, pay later: the hidden costs of lower electricity bills

No lights, no power, no internet - and no easy solutions. Fumbling around in a middle of a blackout, hoping to find a torch or some spare batteries, I was struck by just how utterly dependent most of us…
Prime minister Julia Gillard takes an electricity pricing reform package to COAG this week - but could the answer be in addressing congestion pricing for the network? AAP

Congestion power pricing might provide an answer to network gold plating

Electricity network pricing has been a hot topic in the last six months. The key issues have been regulation and demand side management. On regulation, Prime Minister Julia Gillard is taking a package…

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