Stand-alone power systems – no brainer

Energy Networks Australia has welcomed Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) recommendations to allow network businesses to install stand-alone power systems (SAPS) for some rural and remote customers.

The changes would enable electricity distribution networks to supply their customers with a SAPS where it is cheaper than maintaining a connection to the grid.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said there was clear evidence of significant potential benefits to customers associated with the deployment of SAPS.

“This decision is a no brainer,” he said.

“Stand-alone power systems can deliver cheaper and more reliable power to customers, especially in remote areas.”

SAPS are usually a combination of solar PV, batteries and a diesel backup that can supply customers not physically connected to the electricity grid.

Providing grid-supplied power to people in regional and remote areas is generally far more expensive, with significant poles and wires infrastructure, sometimes extending hundreds of kilometres, required to service limited numbers of people.

Despite the potential benefits, the current regulatory framework prevents distributors from installing SAPS.

Mr Dillon said the AEMC’s recommendations represented an important step toward making the regulatory framework more responsive to technology and market developments.

“Restrictions on the efficient uptake of stand-alone power systems by distributors would have led to customers paying higher prices with lower reliability,” Mr Dillon said.

“Australia needs to utilise new energy technologies and doing so can be a win-win with lower power bills and better reliability.”

Energy Networks Australia’s submission to the AEMC review can be found here.

More information on SAPS can be found here.