|Did you know:
- In 1998, when the National Electricity Market (NEM) was established it included three wind farms and two small solar farms.
- Today, around one in five homes have solar panels connected to them.
It seems energy has replaced real estate as the main topic of conversation at BBQs and family gatherings, and with good reason; our energy landscape is changing faster than ever before!
This year’s Spark Conference – hosted by the Moreland Energy Foundation Limited (MEFL) – in Melbourne’s north provided an opportunity to explore how the pace of change which underpins all things energy is impacting the future design of the energy grid and energy systems. Importantly, the two-day conference also provided an opportunity to explore how the energy grid can continue to evolve without leaving vulnerable people and communities behind.
At the conference, speakers and participants were challenged to consider vulnerable energy users and ensure they are included in discussions about price, access, and comfort.
In one example, it was highlighted that some families are naturally excluded from the opportunity to benefit from solar power. This is because, at present, homeowners and landlords decide if panels are fitted to a roof space, which excludes renters and tenants from the decision making process. Jemena, was a Platinum sponsor of Spark! and we outlined how several new players and projects are working to tackle issues like this head on.
Engaged across all levels - listening to the Community
Many at the conference had participated in our recent demand response trial, run over summer 2016-17. The trial, called Power Changers, was a partnership with the Victorian Government, and encouraged participants to pre-cool their homes ahead of very hot days in order to make small changes to their energy behaviour.
The trial found, that on average, participating households reduced their peak electricity consumption between 21 per cent and 32 per cent, indicating that demand response has the potential to reduce household bills and demand on the grid.
In addition to the practical benefits, it was encouraging to hear how people had actively engaged in Power Changers. Trials like these are important tests of technology and industry outcomes, but they are also important opportunities to engage, work with customers, and deliver real benefits.
For more information about the Power Changers program, click here.