Probably like me you are spending (too much) time in the day thinking of recharging your phone, tablet, smart watch, headphone, speaker and laptop! The amount of time I spend of plugging and unplugging my electric devices is incredible! This made me think of the bigger picture and the impact on the environment of the amount of energy that we are use. How is today’s technology and energy use impacting on tomorrows energy system and the environment?
Our use of electricity has increased markedly in a very short space of time. The number of electric devices in households 10 years ago was pretty close to what it was five years ago. Let’s see: television, fridge, dishwasher, microwave, hair dryer, fan and possibly an air conditioner or a separate freezer.
Now, in 2015, we have more electrical devices than ever before. Almost every household has one, two or even three computers or laptops as well as smartphones, tablets, music-speakers, hard-drives and games… the list goes on. Our love of technology adds to our rising electricity consumption and bills.
The whole electricity system, or ‘the grid’, provides reliable energy, vital to Australian business, industry and communities. It also supports economic growth and employment. Thousands of workers, millions of solar panels, and hundreds of thousands of kilometers of power lines provide us with our daily energy demands… it’s truly impressive.
But what about tomorrow? There are many big questions about how and if the electricity grid can respond to our rising demand.
The Good News
Technology is critical for electricity and vice versa, this is why in the future we will have more choices about the source of our energy supply. We might take energy from the grid, or, may generate our own power and store it ourselves and share the excess with our community, or, particularly if we don’t live in a city or town, we may consider leaving the grid. Whatever we do, we will still need experts to help maintain our energy technology, and the grid will be an important part of the services we need.
Given the wealth of glorious sunny days in Australia, should we all consider going solar? I think solar energy is part of the answer. It’s clean energy and if you have the roof-space and panels you can even sell it back to the grid!
The info-graphic below shows how, if we have solar panels, we can rely on the grid when it is cloudy or at night. We can also rely on it if it’s a very hot, sunny day and we start using more energy for the air conditioning and the pool pump.
While we’re all likely to have a lot more energy choices in the future, right now, for those of us with solar, the grid provides energy at a far lower cost than a single house could supply. For one-fifth of the cost of a stand-alone system, the grid can support all of our home’s big and small appliances, while allowing households to share excess energy and buy and sell in the energy market.
Good To Know
What I’ve realized is that the Grid is rapidly connecting new technologies, while providing safe, reliable and affordable supply to all customers. It is connecting us with renewable energy, from bigger renewable generators and our homes. Australia leads the World in the uptake of grid-connected household solar panels, reversing energy flows in some locations even thoughmost solar customers rely on the Grid to sell excess energy and for backup supply.
doIt provides an exceptionally reliable service adapting in real time to millions of changing demand and supply signals, and it is there 24/7. Importantly for me, it will work with me into the future to power my technology, as well as help me make a difference to the environment. .
For more information, please visit the Hello Grid website – http://www.hellogrid.com.au
I was a guest of the Energy Networks Association at an Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap workshop.
Images: ENA & DepositPhotos
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