Australia creates digital marketplace for solar energy
Australia is changing the game for private homeowners who use solar power.
About 16 percent of the renewable energy generated in Australia is from rooftop solar panels, and this is expected to increase to up to 50 percent. The Decentralised Energy Exchange launched last week, and its creation means homeowners with solar panels could trade their home-grown electricity in a digital marketplace.
According to The Guardian, the CEO of GreenSync – a start-up partner of The Decentralised Energy Exchange – Phil Blythe, said: “The update of rooftop solar is one of the highest in the world per capita in Australia – around 1.6 million rooftops are being fitted with solar – and it’s being rapidly followed by battery storage.
“If we’re going to have customers that can participate in a grid, then they need to get paid for their participation. We needed… a new way of thinking about how these decentralised grids are going to work and fundamentally, how do we do that cost-efficiently.”
When combined, those 1.6 million solar panelled rooftops prove a significant resource, and that’s something which should be harnessed, said Blythe.
“If we talk about the need for a blackout this year or next, there’s no way we can go and build a power plant in that time. We need to think about how to use the smarts to harness those assets and bring them together and advertise these contracts that can be fulfilled in three to six months at the longest, and respond to heatwaves or sudden climate events.”
This move could prove vital for Australia’s renewability goals.
Read the January 2017 issue of Energy Digital magazine
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.