Guardian is reporting that coal power is dying in Australia.
Network operators in Queensland, realising the pent up demand for rooftop solar, are now allowing customers to install as much as they want, on the condition that they don’t export surplus electricity back to the grid.
Households and businesses have little incentive to export excess power. They don’t get paid much for it anyway. Ergon Energy admits that this will likely encourage households to install battery storage.
The next step, of course, is for those households and businesses to disconnect entirely from the grid. In remote and regional areas, that might make sense, because the cost of delivery is expensive and in states such as Queensland and WA is massively cross-subsidised by city consumers.
The truly scary prospect for coal generators, however, is that this equation will become economically viable in the big cities. Investment bank UBS says this could happen as early as 2018.
The CSIRO, in its Future Grid report, says that more than half of electricity by 2040 may be generated, and stored, by “prosumers” at the point of consumption. But they warn that unless the incumbent utilities can adapt their business models to embrace this change, then 40% of consumers will quit the grid.
It’s really not Obama’s “war on coal.”