A project announced by the Prime Minister of the Government of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, could be the future of electricity generation. Enernet is an agreement with Tesla to provide solar roofs and accumulator batteries to no less that 50,000 homes, creating the largest virtual power plant in the world.
South Australia is characterized by single-family residences with a roof available for the installation of generation infrastructure, and the project would be the equivalent of building a 250 MW power plant with a storage capacity of 650 MW, and will mean savings of around 30% to energy users.
The idea is to begin tests in 1,100 publicly owned homes for low-income families, later extending the program to 24,000 existing public housing units (the region has a large amount of publicly owned housing, facilitating decision-making) and eventually it will be offered to all residents in the region, with plans to reach 50,000 homes over a period of four years. With this number of batteries committed for the coming years to the Australian project, Tesla will have to scale up production at its gigafactories, meaning that in the short term it may be difficult to access batteries in other parts of the world.
Tesla’s experience with Solar City in the US, which it bought in 2016, has provided valuable experience for the Australian project: the company offers financing for this type of equipment which is amortized through the savings obtained, allows it to scale and design equipment according to size of the dwelling. Tesla’s has earned a reputation for efficiency in Australia after it beat the deadline to install a 100 MW super battery, the largest electrical storage system in the world, designed to end the frequent power cuts that hit South Australia each summer. In addition, Tesla has already carried out projects in other regions, replacing diesel generators in American Samoa with solar energy, for example.
Distributed generation is, without a doubt, the future of energy, as the Australian project shows, despite accusations of electioneering by the regional government. The more households that are connected to a distributed generation system the more easily the imbalances between generation and consumption, which tend to affect renewable energies, can be evened out, especially through the use of batteries.
It is utterly absurd that in country like Spain, with abundant sunshine and a huge energy bill from imported fossil fuels, similar projects are not already underway, and instead the government imposes taxes on distributed generation and wrongly insists that renewables can only survive with state subsidies.
hether retrograde governments like it or not, the future of energy generation lies with renewables and distributed generation.