In a recent opinion piece published on the InDaily website, Ben Oquist, Executive Director of The Australia Institute argues that, South Australia is the perfect place to introduce changes to electricity market rules to give consumers a greater capacity to save on their energy bills by voluntarily “switching off”.
The article points out that, “[g]lobal warming is predicted to deliver hotter days more regularly in the years ahead, so it is essential that our national grid becomes more flexible and resilient. One key mechanism that could help in that regard is a policy known as ‘demand response’, which sees households, farms and businesses being paid to turn off non-essential devices during peak demand events. Doing so is completely voluntary and, while it eases demand on the grid, it also reduces the cost of electricity for all other consumers.
Various countries around the world have been using demand response for years and with great success. In Australia, demand response is being held back by poor regulation and a lack of government support, but there have been some small moves forward.
The South Australian Liberal Party, for example, did commit $20 million to support demand response during the recent state election campaign and the State Government has announced, just recently, an $11 million trial of demand response technologies across the state.
South Australia, which is leading the way at the cutting edge of renewable energy technology, would be the perfect place to introduce demand response on a larger scale, but so far the National Electricity Market’s rules have been getting in the way.
That is why The Australia Institute has teamed up with the Total Environment Centre and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre to recommend that the rules be changed to allow new players into the market.”
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