Solar power revolution threatens Australian Energy Market Operator

Sydney Morning Herald reports that AEMO CEO is “truly concerned” about the offgrid threat of the rooftop solar boom on the electricity network.

This week, Audrey Zibelman, CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) said that the solar energy revolution could cause the growth of electricity costs for those who are incapable of setting up solar power.

Costs would rise because someone still has to pay for the distribution network’s poles and wires, these are commonly shared between households and establishments connected to the main grid.

With the potential for more people to go off grid solar, the costs proportionally increase for those not able to. Miss Zibelman said this could widen the gap between the solar haves and the have-nots. This includes many renters, apartment dwellers and low-income earners.

Although she supports installing rooftop solar power, her concern is on the rate of disruption to the sector and its cost and management impacts. She also said that it’s more a matter of large numbers of people defecting from the grid too quickly.

Zibelman suggests that Australians would remain connected to the grid, enabling solar panel owners to upload excess power to the grid, while earning feed-in tariffs and reduce their cost on power bills.

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