If you were given 24 hours to decide to cut off either oil or electricity from your life, what would you choose?
The father of lightbulbs once said, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”
Ever since Thomas Edison’s lightbulb invention began to power civilisation in the 1800s, fossil fuels have been the main source of electricity supply.
The process is relatively straightforward; we burn fossil fuels, like coal and gas, to drive large steam turbines that produce electricity. This is then passed through transmission and distribution infrastructure, ie through power lines until it eventually meets your home or business.
So much energy is wasted through transportation of the electricity or is more expensive that it needs to be, because of the high cost of transportation – and in a place like Australia, where regional towns are spread far apart, the further you transport energy down transmission lines, the more energy it takes to deliver it and the more it costs.
During peak electricity demand periods, a household with rooftop solar panels and battery storage could pool its excess self-generated energy to the grid.
Energy markets need to keep pace to deliver competition, and integrating new technologies can help – and it’s what’s holding us back to deliver clean, reliable and low cost electricity.
I don’t know about you, but I’d happily give up my petrol car for a hot shower, refrigerator and Netflix any day.