WHAT an amazing journey it's been since The power trip, my first Bass Coast Post article on October 1, 2020.
The Nissan Leaf e+ discussed in that article is still going strong with over 46,000 kilometres on the clock. It has only been charged away from home twice, at a cost of $8 each time at the fast chargers at Moe Folk Museum. That equates to an expenditure of $16 for nearly three years and 35,000kms of travel.
The rest of the power came from home, with most of it coming from the 12kW Solar PV on the roof. The addition of a Zappi car charger last year provides us with the ability to transfer all our excess solar power into the car’s battery.
The blue curve is the power being transferred to the car battery. The first two yellow “exported” power spikes on the top graph represent the two trips into town.
Our state and federal regulators still haven’t approved bidirectional chargers for battery electric vehicles, though the South Australian Government has approved them and smart solar PV inverters for use in the home.
Basically this means that we are allowed to install large-scale batteries in our homes but not if those batteries have wheels, lights and a steering wheel!
We’re currently in the midst of a worldwide renewable energy revolution which is also taking place in our own national electricity market. Because of our vast solar and wind resources, we have the opportunity to lead the world in developing a renewable energy economy.
One of the most influential figures in this revolution has been Saul Griffith, a Wollongong lad who recently returned to Australia after doing some amazing work in the USA. He’s one of the lead influencers in the recent release of the Inflation Reduction Act in the USA and the recent inclusion of renewables and hydrogen in both the state and federal budgets.
His book The Big Switch (about rewiring Australia) and his Quarterly essay The Wires That Bind (electrification and community renewal) are essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the future of sustainable energy in Australia. He explains where we are now, where we will be in the future, and what we must do to get there.
The two videos on the home page of his electrify2515 website are also a great introduction to understanding how we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions as a community, and how we can also save a lot of money on the way. For further details I would recommend the home page of the Rewiring Australia website.
The vision is to replace our current domestic gas-consuming appliances (when they require replacing) with more efficient renewables-powered electric appliances. For industry, the aim is to change over major industrial processes so that we’ll be exporting green steel and green aluminium instead of iron ore, coal, bauxite and alumina.
U3A Wonthaggi – Sustainability of Energy
For the last year and a half, I have had the privilege of running a course about electricity, past, present and future, at U3A Wonthaggi. We started last year with about eight friends conscripted onto the course, which became a full house of almost 20 by midyear. It’s continued into this year. We are now spending a lot of time discussing the latest developments in the National Electricity Market (NEM) and the Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO).
Bass Coast Adult Learning (BCAL) – Renewable Energy
I was invited to present a session on Vehicle to Grid at a BCAL open day last year, and I was then invited to present my renewable energy course as a part of BCAL’s Sustainability Series. This was organised for the final term of 2022 and became a rewarding learning session for a group of nine interested participants. If we get enough interest, we will be running another course in Term 3 or 4 of this year.
We’ll also be at the Sustainability Festival in Bass on Sunday May 21 for any further enquiries.