Video: One of Australia’s most respected energy commentators, Alan Pears, speaking to The Fifth Estate at All-Energy 2017 told us that federal climate policy wasn’t a big focus at the conference, particularly as energy and environment minister Josh Frydenberg got called away before his scheduled speech.
Of more interest was the action businesses, consumers, councils and state governments were taking.
“Really everyone’s just getting on with the job. And the national situation is really a bit of a melodrama in the background.”
The new paradigm was a distributed, bottom-up, diversified system.
Jutsen voiced concern over “inertia” by the NSW government on sustainability following a change in the ministerial lineup since Gladys Berejiklian took over as premier. A new tranche of sustainability initiatives were due to begin on 1 July and by the beginning of October had not begun.
“It is concerning that things have got bogged down at a time where NSW consumers need every assistance they can get to reduce their energy bills,” Jutsen said.
Pears and Jutsen are focusing heavily on commercial and industrial energy efficiency.
Pears said industrial heat was a big area.
“Provision of heat [takes] a lot more energy than electricity.”
Jutsen said there was a program looking at “moving from Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0 – “so going from the steam age to the digital age in one step”.
“This is very doable now using both non-thermal mechanical technologies combined with heat pumps and other point of end use technology and basically getting rid of steam.
“We’re looking at ways of completely transforming the way a lot of those jobs are done through electricity technologies, which could ultimately be supplied by solar.”
Will we have more blackouts?
On the topic of blackouts, Pears said that so much was being done in the demand response and storage areas that it was highly unlikely to be a threat this summer.
“We’ve got lots of rooftop solar, we’ve got lots of batteries at all scales, even some energy response has come through.”
Jutsen said the recent ARENA/AEMO demand response program was going to be “really big and ultimately it will be huge”.
“There’s potential for 5000MW of demand management capacity in the system, and there’s the equivalent of that in energy efficiency over a 5-10 year period if we actually got stuck into it.”