Australia’s future grid (and what it says for the rest of us)



Quick Take: The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is Australia's national government body for scientific research. It recently convened a Future Grid Forum to explore likely scenarios for Australia's electricity future.


The findings, available in a report titled "Change and choice", have relevance to most developed countries. Kudos to Australia for its efforts to get out in front. - By Jesse Berst


CSIRO convened the Future Grid Forum to develop and explore potential scenarios for Australia’s energy future and support the decision making process. It brought together more than 120 representatives from industry, government and community to inform a national conversation and provide a way forward. The result was Australia’s first whole-system evaluation encompassing the entire value chain from generation to consumption.


CSIRO Chief Economist Paul Graham told that declining demand, higher prices and strong adoption of roof-top solar panels have changed the industry's view of the future. The Forum presented four possible scenarios, which predicted that people will take greater control of how they consume and produce electricity.


"This proactive shift could potentially influence the business model... encouraging the emergence of new services to supply an individually tailored product - not dissimilar to the telecommunications industry shift from a one-size-fits-all landline telephone system to a wide variety of mobile and associated data and entertainment services," Graham said.