Peninsula groups to pilot local energy trading network
The Peninsula Environment Group has joined with three other community groups to run a pilot of an "energy trading network" where local residents could sell and buy electricity from each other for 12 cents a kilowatt hour.
The project, called Central Coast Solar Share, will be run by members of three Peninsula non-profit groups - the environment group, the Umina Community Group and the Patonga Progress Association - together with Electrify Bouddi.
Environment group spokesman Mr Mark Mann said the project would allow local residents with solar panels to sell their surplus to others who can't have panels "such as renters, people living in units or with shaded roofs".
He said trading would be virtual.
"A piece of software matches when one solar-owning household exports electricity to the grid and another non-solar household uses electricity, and makes a trade.
"The software operates automatically; once set up, there is no need to do anything."
Mr Mann said: "It means people who can't have solar panels can switch some of their electricity to solar, helping Australia's transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy.
"The project is a pilot study, to find out if energy trading really works and can be adopted more widely across Australia.
Solar Share participants would need to switch suppliers to Energy Locals "simply because they are currently the only electricity retailer in our area" which supports the software.
The groups had "no financial affiliation" with the retailer and did not endorse it over any other supplier.
The project is free to join and participants will be free to leave at any time, Mr Mann said.
"The study needs both households with solar panels (to sell electricity) and without solar panels (to buy it).
"If you own solar panels, you will get a slightly higher rate than the feed-in tariff.
"If you don't own solar panels, you can buy that electricity at a much lower price than normal electricity tariffs.
"Trading only operates during the daytime, when solar panels are producing electricity.
"To buy the cheap solar power, people without panels will need to shift some of their energy use into the daytime.
"This is important, because the more electricity we use during the day (when it now comes mainly from solar), the fewer expensive batteries need to be built to replace coal at night.
"In short, shifting energy use to the day is the fastest and cheapest way to speed up the energy transition and help prevent catastrophic climate change.
"As part of the project, participants will get advice and tips on how to shift their energy use, such as heating hot water or running washing machines on timers during the day."
More details are available on the project's website at www.centralcoastsolarshare.org.
Media release, 3 Feb 2024
Mark Mann, Peninsula Environment Group