As confirmed by the Finkel Review, Australia needs to find a way to keep the lights on during those rare, high demand periods without paying for infrastructure, poles, wires and power plants across the year.

According to Flow Power Managing Director, Matthew van der Linden, Australians need to start looking at it from a different angle.

What if we turned it on its head and thought about it differently? What if electricity users could respond to market price signals themselves and make the most out of the system?

We wouldn’t need to build more networks or as many power plants, which would reduce the total system cost and create a lot more efficiency.

Electricity companies around the world are already working with businesses and households to give them more control. By changing the way they use power, these businesses and households are paying lower electricity bills, while helping to create a more efficient system for everyone.

Back in 2014, ClimateWorks calculated that we could have as much as 3.1GW of demand response capacity in Australia – that’s almost 150% the size of Hazelwood.

When customers are informed about possible peaks in the market, they can reduce their demand on the electricity system during that time. It could be as simple as delaying water pumping for a couple of hours, or shifting to battery power for half an hour.

According to van der Linden, the benefits are undeniable.

Customers responding to market signals take advantage of the low prices when they occur, which could save them as much as 30% on their energy charges. Given that the market can go into negative prices, it’s a great motivator.

Van der Linden goes on to explain that when users have more control, many of the broader issues in the electricity sector would be solved.

We did the numbers and it would have only taken 500 customers to stop the forced load shedding in SA earlier in 2017. The answer was similar in Victoria when Loy Yang A was projected to turn off, says van der Linden.

Flow Power has been passing on these signals to customers for more than eight years, with big results. Here are just two examples:

  • A fruit grower in SA saved 31.5% on energy costs over 2016
  • A manufacturer profited $10,000 by pumping power into the grid

Business as usual would mean building more infrastructure – whereas change means putting energy users in control.

Flow Power thanks the team who produced the Finkel Report. Irrelevant of position, it provides guidance into the future of the electricity system. We now look forward to the AEMO and ARENA summer peak management program.

Any questions? We’re here to help.

If you’re interested in learning more about the wholesale energy market, our friendly team are always available for a chat.

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