Utilities and the Distributed Energy Paradigm Shift

cleanerenergy.org 3 June 2013.

This is the second blog in a series on the growth of distributed energy in the U.S. The first, “The Calm before the Solar Storm,” was posted May 29.

In a move reminiscent of “Who Killed the Electric Car,” we’re hearing grumblings from the investor-owned utility (IOU) industry that advances in distributed energy technologies are threatening revenues. The IOU’s trade association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), issued a red flag in January with a report titled: Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business. The “disruptions” boil down to distributed generation technologies like photovoltaics (PV), as well as energy efficiency and demand-side management programs, all of which are stealing demand and  revenue from utilities. EEI’s “strategic response” is to fight, rather than to adapt to, this evolving energy economy. While EEI is correct in raising a flag on these developing issues, the solutions they recommend are disconcerting from a public-interest standpoint, and naive from the perspective of maintaining competitiveness in an evolving market place. A more sophisticated response to the emerging market dynamics could create real economic value that can be shared by consumers, distributed energy providers and utilities…



Solar energy consumers gridlocked

Cape Times 18 February 2013.

Cape Town – South Africa has so much sunlight that millions of householders could install solar panels on their rooftops and generate electricity to feed into the national grid but, because selling electricity is one of the major sources of income for municipalities, this is unlikely to happen.

This is a major stumbling block to the large-scale installation of small-scale solar power generation, delegates to the Solar Energy Conference were told last week.

Municipalities buy electricity from Eskom and sell it to residents at a marked-up price. They rely on this income to cross-subsidise many of the other services they provide…


Net Metering in Tshwane – South Africa

SAAEA 24 October 2012.

You may be interested either as a resident, business or as an interested party in the City of Tshwane’s proposal to install prepaid metres throughout the city replacing existing metres. The short term financial costs to be borne by landowners and businesses to install these metres is one issue. A much larger issue is whether these supposedly smart meters will allow reverse feed to the grid. Or will this programme delay net metering a few more years.

Since these public consultation meetings are not well promoted the meetings are typically poorly attended. If you have an interest in opening up options for renewable energy solutions please make an effort to attend one of these meetings and tell everyone you know to attend. If enough people attend and sufficient interest is shown by the public the CoT might listen.

The City of Tshwane added a notice to their website yesterday regarding the consultation process of the Electricity By-law on the roll-out of prepayment meters. Meetings will be held at 09:00 on the 27th October

2012 see link below for more details of meeting venues and to check for possible changes to dates or times.


Solar solutions open self-generation prospects for firms

SAAEA 28 September 2012.

The deployment of solar-power systems to provide businesses with sustainable, self- generated electricity is increasingly viable because solar power has become cost effective, says power equipment company AEG Power Solutions MD Trevor de Vries…

Click here for full article

Rooftop Solar Revolution. A new book supporting our philosophy.

SAAEA 12 September 2012.


This is truly excellent news. It is great to have books like these which support the Solar Revolution which is now a Social Revolution rather than a Technological Revolution, as the technologies now exist and their pricing is approaching grid parity in many parts of the world.

From a really simple point of view, all we need is Net Metering and Time of Use (TOU) Tariffs and no service fees, except perhaps a Retail Wheeling tariff for electricity sold into the grid…



Exploiting domestic energy sources

SAAEA 8 September 2012.

Now that Government has lifted the ban on fracking, perhaps it will level the playing fields and lift the ban on Net Metering and implement NRS 097 2 1 which allows Net Metering with Reverse Feed and Time of Use Tariffs without a service fee?

This will give the alternative energy supporters time to show that alternative and renewable energy are cheaper and more sustainable than gas in South Africa. And it will level the playing fields and give the small person in South Africa the chance to compete with the goliaths of this world, including our government and Shell…


Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality pilots embedded energy project

Urban Earth 21 August 2012.

“With the price of electricity increasing in South Africa, municipalities can expect to see an increase in the number of private renewable energy grid connected installations and need to prepare for this”, says Tyrone Ferndale,  Project Manager Renewable Energy, from Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. In response to this trend Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has piloted a small-scale energy project to determine the feasibility of grid connected private installations and to determine a system of rewarding customers for generating renewable energy and placing this on the grid…