Anyone up for a Tesla community battery?

WA is exploring an innovative way to encourage people to take up rooftop solar.  Tesla community batteries.

This allows those homes to to draw electricity back from the PowerBank during the afternoon and evening peak – when their solar systems stop generating – without having stump up thousands of dollars for their own behind-the-meter battery storage system.

Western Power and Synergy said this week that the Meadow Springs community battery had proven a great success, saving residents a collective $11,000 off their power bills and prompting the installation of a second battery in the neighbouring suburb of Flacon in November last year.

A further third grid-connected Tesla battery has now extended the offer to residents of Ellenbrook, in Perth – and there will be more to come.

From the comments. WA challenging SA for the most expensive electricity. Is WA planning to deindustrialize as well?

This entry was posted in Free Enterprise, Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Anyone up for a Tesla community battery?

  1. Cynic of Ayr

    “without having stump up thousands of dollars for their own behind-the-meter battery storage system.”
    Who’s going to pay for the bloody battery?
    There’s no way the householders are going to save money, because just when the first one is paid off, it’ll’ be fkd, and another one will have to be bought.
    Jeez this shit is insane!
    Someone is going to make some money out of this, and a lot of people are going to lose some money.
    ‘Twas always thus when it comes to renewable power.

  2. Arg

    Yeah, I don’t know about “community batteries”; it sounds like everyone agrees we’re headed for societal collapse and preparing for it without actually acknowledging it openly (or to ourselves).

    But, I’m pretty keen on the idea of home batteries in general. The only circumstance under which I’d consider solar is if I get to keep the electricity, use it myself, and be independent of the grid when the grid fails. Prices and configurations of these battery systems are starting to be quite attractive for this. Add the option of a plug to insert a generator as well and you have a great solution for helping making the inevitable collapse of civilisation a little more bearable!

  3. MACK

    Even Choice magazine says:
    “For most homes, we think a battery doesn’t make complete economic sense yet. Batteries are still relatively expensive and the payback time will often be longer than the warranty period of the battery…..
    Results from an Australian-based three-year trial of 18 storage batteries are not encouraging, with a high failure rate and difficulties with manufacturer support in some cases. ”
    https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvement/energy-saving/solar/buying-guides/battery-storage-buying-guide#shouldigetahomebattery
    Once more, green enthusiasts have been mugged by reality, but are continuing with their masochism.

  4. Ben

    The biggest destabilising risk to the network is uncontrollable rooftop PV.

    Home batteries are a possibility, but the charge/discharge times need to be optimised to complement the network.

    A suitable tariff arrangement would be a start.

    Unfortunately the ‘big government’ concept is embedded into everybody’s brains, and the bureaucracy looks after itself.

  5. I can see our township going full bore on this suggestion. They have already tried to start come sort of community power grid using solar on rooftops and where everyone pays the same for power regardless of how much power they use. Needless to say, some are questioning this.

  6. Rohan

    Cynic of Ayr
    #3320916, posted on February 12, 2020 at 11:37 am
    “without having stump up thousands of dollars for their own behind-the-meter battery storage system.”
    Who’s going to pay for the bloody battery?
    There’s no way the householders are going to save money, because just when the first one is paid off, it’ll’ be fkd, and another one will have to be bought.
    Jeez this shit is insane!

    What everyone has filed to note is that the “Community Battery” is on the supply side of their meters. So I’m also assuming that this means the the LRET/SRET and the WA equivalent of the VEET in Victoriastan if it exists, is being charged through their supply when they draw on power from the battery. That’s currently about 3 c/kwh. So are they taking with one hand aand giving with the other?

    If think someone is getting swindled by smoke and mirrors and it aint the guy behind the name stamped on the battery.

  7. feelthebern

    Batteries are not for storage.
    They are made for generating profits via trading.

  8. candy

    I wonder if any of this is tested and safe.

  9. Dianeh

    As the battery is on the supply side, doesn’t that mean that they will get paid for the Electricity that they put into the battery via their solar feed in tariff?

  10. Beachcomber

    “without having stump up thousands of dollars for their own behind-the-meter battery storage system.”
    Who’s going to pay for the bloody battery?

    WA set to record second highest electricity prices in Australia

  11. Beachcomber

    Just watched a bit of Australia’s “Chief Scientist” evangelising to to the Green poseurs and carpetbaggers at the National Press Club.

    In the past, we used coal and a bit of gas to directly generate electricity in power stations. It was a relatively straight-forward and very efficient process, with relatively few energy conversions required and direct supply to the grid.

    Now, to save the planet from evil humans, our High Priest of Green dogma tells us that we must start by burning coal and gas to power electric cars, to mine resources for solar panels and windmills, to build the solar panels and windmills, to keep them running and replace them when they don’t work, to mine the resources for massive batteries of imagined capacity to be built and frequently replaced. Nirvana will be reached by burning more coal and gas to provide electricity to produce electricity from hydrogen that has been split from water. In all of this, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is utterly ignored by the “Chief Scientist” who tells us he is an engineer.

    Amongst the audience, there was no suggestion of even the slightest skepticism about this nonsense. The carpetbaggers were literally salivating at the prospects of the taxpayers’ money coming their way.

  12. classical_hero

    Beachcomber, the laws of Physics must obey the laws of Australia.

  13. Jock

    Just in to prove that the penultimate carpetbagger is onto the gravy: from the OZ
    “Macquarie Group is working on a spate of green projects, including aircraft that are carbon-neutral on delivery, as it seeks to further ­capitalise on a shift toward renewable energy and heightened awareness about carbon emission reduction.”

  14. OldOzzie

    Chief Scientist Alan Finkel lauds hydrogen as ‘hero’ fuel for climate, jobs

    Rosie Lewis
    Reporter

    Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has declared hydrogen can be Australia’s “hero” fuel source to help confront the impacts of climate change and build an industry capable of creating thousands of new jobs.

    Addressing the National Press Club in Canberra, Dr Finkel warned the only way to meet the country’s future energy needs without sacrificing standards of living or undermining the economy was an orderly transition to “clean electricity”.

    “Let’s assume that with solar, wind and natural gas, we will achieve a reliable, low emissions electricity supply. Is this enough? Not really,” Dr Finkel said.

    “We still need a high-density source of transportable fuel for long distance, heavy duty trucks. We still need an alternative chemical feedstock to make the ammonia used to produce fertilisers. We still need a means to carry clean energy from one continent to another. Enter the hero: hydrogen.

    “By producing hydrogen from natural gas or coal, using carbon capture and permanent storage, we can add back two more lanes to our energy highway, ensuring we have four primary energy sources to meet the needs of the future – solar, wind, hydrogen from natural gas, and hydrogen from coal.”

    The push to embrace hydrogen comes amid Coalition divisions over whether government should underwrite a new high-efficiency, low-emission coal-fired power station in Queensland and as Energy and Emission Reduction Minister Angus Taylor prepares to release a draft technology investment road map to lower emissions.

    Dr Finkel said wind and solar electricity cost around $50 per megawatt-hour to produce and – even when combined with storage – the price was lower than existing gas-fired electricity generation and similar to new-build coal-fired electricity generation.

    Hydrogen would have a “revolutionary impact on cutting global emissions” and could create a $2 trillion global market in 2050 if the price of producing hydrogen was substantially lower than $2 per kilogram.

    “We have the potential to be one of the top three exporters of clean hydrogen, to create an exemplary safety track record, thousands of new Australian jobs, especially in regional areas, and billions of dollars in economic growth between now and 2050,” Dr Finkel said.

    ‘Climate change is real and already happening’

    After the devastating 2019-20 bushfires, the Chief Scientist said climate change was real and “already happening with a rapidity that is deeply affecting our way of life”.

    He backed Science Minister Karen Andrews, who said the nation must move on from disputing the reality of climate change.

    “The link between climate change, a rising number of forest fire danger days and our season of bushfires is clear, and has resulted in a steep collective cost that can be measured in billions of dollars in economic damage — which pales to insignificance when compared to the greater costs behind the statistics. The lost lives and livelihoods. The lost businesses and homes. The lost flora and fauna,” Dr Finkel said.

    “Unless long-term action is taken, these extreme bushfires conditions will be repeated, and indeed continue to worsen, into the future.”

    ‘Orderly transition to the electric planet’

    An “orderly transition to the electric planet” was the key to combating climate change and delivering reliable energy, Dr Finkel said, as he called for Australia to think about electric cars instead of petrol cars and electric factories instead of oil-burning factories.

    “Make no mistake, this will be the biggest engineering challenge ever undertaken,” he said.

    “It will also require respectful planning and retraining to ensure affected individuals and communities, who have fuelled our energy progress for generations, are supported throughout the transition.”

    Scott Morrison said on Tuesday he would back any jobs from a HELE coal-fired power station in Collinsville but refused to say if he would agree to a request from proponent Shine Energy to provide indemnity against climate risk.

  15. Russell

    Community batteries will not work because local councils will have to grant permission for the installation of them on some public land (road reserve or public parks). This will be problematic because not all ratepayers will receive the commercial advantage of this scheme. In fact, it will only be more well-off “community” members that will get the benefit. This is a commercial business opportunity for “prosumers” (producer-consumers) and all councils should be wary of the “real” community backlash affecting public amenity as these things are ugly eyesores that will be plonked outside some poor suckers house or in a restful place of a local park. And they can’t be put underground due to heating and water/flooding rules.

    It is now very hard to get a new site for a transformer padmount after a housing estate has been developed. Clearly a site can be earmarked for new estates but in developed areas you can forget it.

    I can’t help thinking it’s a virtue-signalling effort by WP&Co …

  16. Tony

    Speaking personally, we installed solar for $5,500 at the end of 2018. Our power bill for 2018 was $1823.28 and our power bill for 2019 was $394.09, a saving $1429.19, and the first step to a quick pay off.
    Now do we install a battery?

  17. Cumborah Kid

    As a long suffering WA resident and tax payer, this looks like a tax by another means. The WA grid is confined to the SW corner of the state, from Geraldton, down to Augusta, across to Esperance, up to Kalgoorlie and then back to Geraldton along the wheatbelt / mulga line. All the big mines generate their own power, generally using gas from the Pilbara to Kalgoorlie gas pipe line.
    It has a bog standard coal fired power station at Collie burning standard shit Collie coal. The only increase in power would be the addition of another suburb per year to house the next load of unwanted immigrants. There has been no new major infrastructure built in the last 15 years.

  18. John Althuizen

    I have a slightly different take on what they want to install batteries. These sites have been chosen in areas where rooftop solar is very popular. Western Power/Synergy will be having huge difficulties in keeping frequency and voltage within their quality of supply guidelines (remember, your inverter trips off if system volts or Hz moves out of range, causing numerous customer complaints) By installing a battery on the network side, it gives them system stability control at the source of the problem. They reduce customer complaints and claims for system instability and mostly cost neutral after a few years? I think is is a smart way to deal with what is a huge problem in some suburbs? Can someone confirm if my hunch is on the right track?

  19. John Althuizen

    Should be cost neutral by that I mean cost neutral for Western Power/Synergy. Their onl other alternative is to install “Network scale automation” which is has huge cost implications

  20. John Althuizen

    Should be cost neutral by that I mean cost neutral for Western Power/Synergy. Their onl other alternative is to install “Network scale automation” which is has huge cost implications. The customer will always pay in the end, those without solar more so than those with.

  21. Neville

    Humorous there Rafe. But no, bot deindustrialisation. The electrucity supplier just wants to smooth out supply-demand, because just like elsewhere in Australia, renewunreliableable electricity has become so prevalent that it’s destabilising the network. Of course, being supplied and installed by Synergy, the batteries have to amortised across its gross revenue, so it charges lots more to all the rest of us in locations withOUT such batteries, just the same as it charges us all more to pay the solar ‘feed-in’ tariff to those who installed a solar system using govt (our) money only to destabilise the network!! Madness!!

  22. Bruce

    Finkel is the CHIEF Scientist?

    We are SO screwed!

    The energy equations for extracting Hydrogen from its nice bonds with Carbon atoms, just make no sense.

    Furthermore, the flame front of a hydrogen burn is somewhat slower that for high-octane hydrocarbons.

    Never mind all the endless re-runs of the “Hindenburg ” disaster we have seen. Virtually NOBODY has ever explained the mechanics of the fire.

    If you watch carefully, the Zeppelin skin burns away with huge flames and lots of smoke.

    Well, Hydrogen burns with an essentially invisible flame and NO smoke.

    So what has everyone been watching but not seeing?

    The entire outer skin, several Hectares of it, of the “Hindenburg” was a woven fabric, However, it was sealed with a varnish containing a red pigment which was finely ground Iron Oxide.

    On top of that was the nice, shiny silver “dope” finish that was required to reflect sunlight to prevent overheating the internal rubberized silk bags on which the Hydrogen was contained at about atmospheric pressure.

    So, the “dope” binder in the paint was itself “flammable”, but, it gets better. Hand up everyone in the class who knows what a mixture of Aluminium and Iron Oxide powders is called..

    That’s right, kiddies! THERMITE! The stuff used in incendiary bombs and for welding rail tracks together.

    So we have several Hectares of potentially spectacularly flammable material traveling through the air at reasonable speed. Frictional airflow around aircraft usually generates a buildup of static electricity, and seems to have done so in this case. This, again, was a known hazard and as the airship approached the mooring mast, the crew had already started to deploy a discharge cable to dump the charge to the ground, “Something” went awry; maybe the termination on the rigid Aluminium frame of the “Hindenburg” was not secure enough, but some sort of “spark’ occurred

    All through the flight. “Hindenburg” had been “leaking’ Hydrogen from the rubberized silk bags, and some of that escaped gas appears to have “pooled” inside the outer skin. Again, this was a known problem, and the airship had vents in the upper surface of the skin. These could be periodically opened to bleed off this “lost” Hydrogen.

    However, it would not take much “loose” Hydrogen to cause mischief. If the “earthing” cable were not very well bolted to the frame, a spark could occur when the cable struck the ground; not all of the static electricity was “grounded” and a spark occurred in a Hydrogen-enhanced atmosphere INSIDE the airship.

    So, what the old movie shows is that the skin burned rapidly,pretty much from the TOP down, the initial Hydrogen “fire” would have taken hold high in the structure and then ignited the dope and thermite “water-proofing” on the skin. This is the actual source of the bright flames and billowing smoke, NOT the Hydrogen. Note that it did NOT explode catastrophically, like a gigantic version of the old school chemistry lab “Hydrogen in a balloon” trick. The ignition of the remaining fuel for the propulsion engines was the final nail in the coffin.

    Hence, the small (so to speak) problem of how to contain and distribute Hydrogen. The molecule is so small that it migrates through most flexible seals.

  23. RobK

    Neville and others are on the right track, in my view. Synergy has one of several choices in how to handle high uptake of domestic PV and the associated stability issues . None of the choices is cheap or simple to effect. Each is difficult politically, financially and in an engineering sense. There is a sound argument that if you want to use batteries to a heavier extent, then having them away from the residence is safer and easier for competent maintenance.
    Other choices to handle high uptake of PV includes major changes to monitoring and control equipment of the grid, such as automatic tap changing transformers and synchronous condensers and better conductors.
    The other choices could include more control imposed on domestic PV to enable remote curtailment.
    In reality, if domestic PV continues to be pushed as it has been, all the above will need to be factored in the final design. It is the unseen cost of high penetration renewables that many have been shouting to deaf ears.

  24. RobK

    “Make no mistake, this will be the biggest engineering challenge ever undertaken,” he (Finkel)said.
    It is also an experiment, not ready for prime time. Just like solar was shoe-horned with subsidies and outrageous Feed-in tariffs meeting low resistance while penetration costs are low, ratcheting up as commitment is locked in. Similarly, H2 will try to establish using low(er) cost fossil fuels, then leverage off that by persecution of the evil CO2. Following a proven political formula. A much slower rate of change would be the prudent way to go. No subsidies.

  25. Tel

    “By producing hydrogen from natural gas or coal, using carbon capture and permanent storage, we can add back two more lanes to our energy highway, ensuring we have four primary energy sources to meet the needs of the future – solar, wind, hydrogen from natural gas, and hydrogen from coal.”

    Hydrogen from coal?!?

  26. Rafe Champion

    Tks RobK, I just noticed the message at the bottom of the piece.

    Did you know that articles in The Conversation are written by academics in collaboration with a team of more than 20 professional journalists? We do this work because we value reliable information and want to help you understand the evidence behind complex issues..

    It takes 20 professional journalists to enable academics to provide reliable information?! But no alternative opinions thank you!!

  27. Lazlo

    Rafe,
    The Conversation is controlled by a staff of leftie journo hacks who have found refuge in a taxpayer funded sheltered workshop. There is no academic control over its editorial decisions, since there are no academics involved in the process other than the authors, who give this green/left venture a veneer of respectability. The Conversation makes conventional peer review look good.

  28. Beachcomber

    Is WA planning to deindustrialize as well?

    Of course it is.

    See page iv, “Climate Change in WA”, the Minister’s foreword, where the State Government sets 2050 as Year Zero for WA to de-carbonise its’economy.

  29. John A

    Dianeh #3321003, posted on February 12, 2020, at 1:05 pm

    As the battery is on the supply side, doesn’t that mean that they will get paid for the Electricity that they put into the battery via their solar feed-in tariff?

    Ever tried to send water back to the reservoir from your home water tanks? Doesn’t work because there is more pressure pushing water towards you than your water tanks can resist.

    Same with the electricity system. The supply is a positive pressure system running at 240V, reduced from 22,000V by transformers, wires and poles further up the line.

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