Off the grid: AEMC paves way for stand alone systems to replace poles and wires

Australia’s energy market rule-maker has paved the way for network operators to deliver stand-alone power systems based around solar and batteries that will deliver big savings to all consumers.

A review and recommendations from the Australian Energy Market Commission has found that cutting hundreds or even thousands of kilometres of poles and wires on the edges of the national grid, and replacing them with stand alone systems featuring a mixture of solar, batteries and diesel back-up would be both cheaper and cleaner.More than that, the AEMC says it would also be safer and more reliable, thanks to the reduced impact of storms, bushfires, floods and other extreme weather events.

It’s a significant change – a further tangible breakdown of the old fossil fuel based energy system that held that supplies should be centralised and networks extensive.

AEMC chief executive Anne Pearson said that while numbers of customers identified for “transition” to stand alone systems over the next 10 years was “relatively low”, they would still deliver “significant cost savings” across the board.”This is one of the rare win-wins for everyone,” Pearson told RenewEconomy. “It is a win for DER (distributed energy resources such as solar and batteries), a win for people who want cheaper power, and for people who want safer power.”

Giles Parkinson