Chris Vlahoplus, partner and clean tech & sustainability practice leader at ScottMadden, Inc., one of North America’s leading energy consulting firms, recently spoke to Utility Dive about Australia’s distributed energy resource (DER) revolution. In November 2016, ScottMadden and the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) led a fact-finding mission to discover ways Australian utilities and partners were deploying DERs and how customers were responding to the market shift. As a result of the trip, Mr. Vlahoplus and Tanuj Deora, chief strategy officer at SEPA, identified opportunities in Australia’s DER “boom.” Utility Dive’s article, “What Australia’s DER Revolution Can Tech U.S. Utilities about the Age of Trump,” shares a few of these insights.
Australia’s thriving distributed solar sector has eliminated the need for feed-in-tariffs (FITs). As the article shares, “Australia shows what the power sector looks like when it is more customer-centric and when rates are driving customers to the DG and not just incentives.” Mr. Vlahoplus continues, “Electricity rates almost doubled from 2008 to 2014. Even though the FIT has now been stepped down, higher electricity rates continue to make DER attractive.”
“The market is so far dominated by local solar installers, and the retailers see opportunity if they can leverage the customer data and marketing power they have in customer acquisition,” says Mr. Deora. There seems to be an emerging bias toward competitive practices and the idea that “if a product or service can be competitive, it should be,” adds Mr. Vlahoplus.
Mr. Deora shares, “Like the work being done now in the U.S., most notably in New York and California, Australia is planning on more cost-effective dispatch of DER through new tariffs and a transformed power sector led by distribution system operators. In the U.S., rate reforms are being planned in New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. As they prove workable, other states are likely to follow.”
The high penetration of distributed solar makes Australia an interesting and important case study for utilities in the United States. For additional information, please contact Chris Vlahoplus.
About ScottMadden’s Clean Tech & Sustainability
Leveraging our energy expertise, the ScottMadden Clean Tech & Sustainability practice helps our clients effectively navigate through the quickly changing energy landscape. We specialize in assisting our clients with sustainable energy strategies and making smart portfolio choices. We work with our clients to understand and effectively utilize cleaner, renewable sources of energy, such as nuclear, wind, solar, biomass, and biofuels. Our experienced team of energy practitioners understands the roles of energy efficiency, demand response, and storage as part of an integrated strategy. We also assist clients with sustainability, bringing an understanding of energy-unique concerns.
About ScottMadden, Inc.
ScottMadden is the management consulting firm that does what it takes to get it done right. Our practice areas include Energy, Clean Tech & Sustainability, Corporate & Shared Services, and Grid Transformation. We deliver a broad array of consulting services ranging from strategic planning through implementation across many industries, business units, and functions. To learn more, visit www.scottmadden.com | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn.
About Smart Electric Power Alliance
The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) is an educational non-profit and a trusted platform for education, research and collaboration to help utilities deploy and integrate solar, storage, demand response, and other distributed energy resources. Created in 1992, we currently have over 1,000 members who represent the whole spectrum of industry stakeholders. Utilities, ISOs, large energy users, corporate and non-profits look to us to facilitate solutions for today’s challenges and to meet tomorrow’s electricity needs for the next decade and beyond. For more information, visit www.SEPApower.org | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn