Environmentally conscious Australians will now have a more sustainable and greener energy provider after South Australian power provider ZEN Energy announced that it would, as they put it, become the country’s first “dedicated community renewable energy provider.”
The Greener Option
ZEN Energy plans to take customers off the grid by providing renewable energy resource. The energy provider will use a combination of solar, wind, as well as hydro and biomass on top of battery storage. They are set to power homes and businesses in an attempt to end their reliance on traditional energy providers in the country that still make use of coal-burning power stations.
An integral part of their vision is the creation and construction of ‘micro-grinds’ that will deliver sustainable and low cost power to the community.
Richard Turner, the company’s Director of Innovation and Business Development, explained, “It’s almost like going back to the future, to the old township-based power station, with the community owning and running it rather than importing energy.”
Within these locations, ZEN Energy will be the one generating the power and assisting in the construction of the actual micro-grid as well as large-scale energy storage. They will then retail the power back to the community at a fraction of the current costs.
Turner added, “The big thing we want to portray to people, is you don’t have to live like a hippy to get off the grid anymore. It’s modern off-grid living with no compromises to lifestyle.”
The company also answered the ‘what if?’ scenario when the sun doesn’t shine. In certain communities, there will be back up. Turner explained, “If there was a community of 500 homes, rather than having 500 connections to the grid, they would have one connection to the grid as their main gateway. If there’s no grid nearby, we’d have the backup operation inside the community or micro-grid.”
Will it Work?
Despite high-profile backing, many from the traditional energy sector are skeptical, and they believe that consumers may end up paying more than what they do now with their current energy providers. Additionally, the ZEN Energy’s services are currently not available across the entirety of Australia, although they announced that it is quickly building capacity over the next three to six months.
Despite this, many Australians are excited at the news, not just because the energy provider will be generating environmentally friendly and sustainable energy, but they will finally be self-powered and off the grid as well.
ZEN Energy’s announcement comes just after the Climate Council released a report last October 20 that Australia may be the world’s largest market for solar energy storage. Although skeptics are wary of the actual potential of this renewable and sustainable effort, Australia’s energy transformation, it seems, has begun.