Chapter 6 of the Chief Scientist Alan Finkel's report (see the article below, introducing the report) is headed: "REWARDING CONSUMERS"
In it, Dr Finkel notes that, “[t]he uptake of new technologies is putting residential, commercial and industrial consumers at the centre of the electricity market. Distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar photovoltaic and battery storage systems installed at commercial and residential premises, energy e ciency improvements, and demand response by consumers can all be harnessed to improve the reliability and security of the electricity system. Consumers of all sizes should be rewarded for taking those actions, which will bene t them individually and also help reduce overall system costs, leading to savings for all consumers.
Achieving this outcome requires action. The retail electricity market must operate e ectively and serve consumers’ interests. Improved access to data is needed to assist consumers, service providers, system operators and policy makers. Increased use of demand response and changes to the role of networks and how they are incentivised are required to unlock these bene ts. Governments also need to take steps to ensure that all consumers, including low income consumers, are able to share in the benefits of new technologies and improved energy efficiency."
Further, Dr Finkel states:
"Australians are keen adopters of new energy technologies. The uptake of new technologies and new, often digitally enabled, ways of providing services to consumers is an integral part of the transformation of the NEM.
An increasing proportion of investment in new generation assets comes from individual consumers. In the NEM, consumers have installed more than 1.44 million rooftop solar photovoltaic systems. AEMO forecasts that by 2036 the annual electricity generation from rooftop photovoltaic solar will increase by 350 per cent from current levels.
Battery storage is poised to be the next major consumer-driven deployment of energy technology. Upfront costs for solar photovoltaic systems with storage are currently high, with long payback periods for most consumers. Bloomberg expects the average payback period for residential consumers to fall below 10 years in the early 2020s, with around 100,000 battery storage systems to support rooftop solar photovoltaic generation predicted to be installed by 2020.
Innovative companies are starting to develop and market home energy management systems that coordinate and automate a consumer’s appliances, generation and storage equipment. Energy e ciency improvements, particularly in homes with modern appliances and building technologies, can reduce peak demand.
For larger consumers, building energy management systems able to respond to outside control signals are becoming more common. Given appropriate incentives and market opportunities, voluntary load reductions by commercial and industrial users could serve as an alternative to involuntary load shedding to address supply shortages."