Consumers the key to cheaper energy

An integrated grid using new technology could lead to a 30 per cent reduction or $16.7 billion saving in national energy use by 2050, according to Energy Network Australia.

The analysis of current and evolving technologies was commissioned by ENA and the CSIRO as part of the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap.

ENA CEO John Bradley said the cost savings would be delivered by consumer consumers taking up storage and generation, not utility companies.

“Customers, not utilities, will make more than $224 billion – or more than a quarter – of all energy system investment decisions between now and 2050,” Mr Bradley said.

“Energy networks can unlock the full value of these distributed resources, like solar, storage and demand management, with smart incentives for grid-support services.”

The modelling shows that by shifting generation to the consumer it would lead to:

• $16.2 billion of network investment
• avoid $18.6 billion in cross subsidies between energy customers and
• provide $16.7 billion in economic benefit to the community.

Mr Bradley cautioned the benefits depended on being put in the right places at the right times.

“Some networks are already introducing new partnerships, such as rewarding customers for allowing the energy network to use their battery storage during times of peak demand,” he said.

The Energeia modelling found the early transition to demand-based tariffs could save customers more than 10 per cent a year on network charges and avoid $1.4 billion in network investment by 2026.

“This could save $600 per year for a medium family without distributed resources,” he said.