What the Grid! Emerging models, issues and opportunities in regional energy networks
Our energy systems are rapidly marching back to the future with the advent of affordable and user-friendly energy powerplants at residential to industrial scale. However, the grid, electricity network operators and market rule-makers are struggling to keep up with the pace of market-led change.
Regional Australia stands to benefit greatly from the economic shift when energy is generated and consumed locally, including for transport. What are the strategic settings required to optimise the impact of renewable energy transition in a region?
Factors include best-practice project development and benefit sharing at the large scale, community participation and investment at smaller scale, and leveraging the potential for affordable, renewable energy in developing energy intensive industries.
- Emerging tech (affordability and ease) and retail market innovation have resulted in new ways to share and value energy
- Standalone systems and Microgrids are becoming increasingly viable at certain scale – esp in agricultural settings.
- The Distribution Network will either get smart or break! Especially with increased electrification.
- We foresee increasing ‘tribalisation’ of energy – local networks of supply and consumption in contrast to big retailers.
Leaders and decision-makers need to be aware of trends, opportunities and constraints in the energy sector to maximise regional impacts and avoid being locked-out of future opportunities.
With a farming background and formal training in Engineering, Ecology and Rural Leadership, Ashley has worked in the mining, agriculture, conservation, water, waste and energy sectors. His holistic approach and capacity for creative thinking has lead to development and delivery of many high impact innovative projects for both government and private industry.
Ashley is a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, an Adjunct to Charles Sturt University, Associate Partner to the Green Homes International Group and Director of his own consultancy, Constructive Energy. He is passionate about the alignment of environmental, social and economic goals in Regional Australia and the need to maximise the local impact of emerging technologies and business models.