Energy should be boring, experts agree. Isn’t that shocking?
Energy is boring? Not if you’re a reader of ARENAWIRE. But that’s exactly what an audience at Melbourne’s recently-held All-Energy conference heard from a panel of experts in their field.
It was an idea introduced by Telstra Energy’s Ben Burge and carried on by Frank Tudor, managing director of Horizon Power. In discussion about what might be the next market disruption for energy, each agreed that in the future energy concerns needed to move to the back of people’s minds.
“Technology works best when it’s almost invisible to the user. We’re all energy geeks in this room but energy should be boring. We want to make it absolutely seamless for people,” Burge said.
For Wood, whose company is now going through the process of recruiting the Onslow community in Western Australia to join in its microgrid project, key issues of energy affordability and reliability needed to be solved for consumers to move on.
“My suspicion is that Ben’s on the money,” he said. “Our job is to make energy boring. It was boring in the last 100 years and it’s going through a transition point at the moment.
“We’re going through a heavy transition and we are engaging the community but once we actually solve it I think the community will be far less interested.”
At ARENAWIRE we are always excited by all things energy. But we also believe there is plenty of confusion and misinformation in the marketplace. We’re trying to combat that by publishing clear and accessible news and analysis, without ‘dumbing down’ what amount to complex forces and processes.
ARENA’s Dan Sturrock agreed that changes to the energy system needed to be as painless as possible for the consumer.
“There is that conflict between the ‘prosumer’ and what they want to do….but also thinking about the whole system being dragged along behind. I think there’s some challenges there but the good news is that the industry is being more collaborative and able to loosen the shackles a bit.”
But the rising cost of electricity was making that transition to new approaches and technologies – home batteries, renewables and demand response among them – harder for some, Australian Energy Regulator board member Jim Cox said.
“Most people are stuck in the old world. And there is a group of consumers who think ‘it’s all too complex, there’s so much information I can’t make a choice’,” he said.
Cox argued for a managed transition from old world to new.
“We’ve got to be aware that energy is a very sensitive issue, there’s a lot of concern about inequality of outcomes and regulators have got to be aware of that too.”
Do you want energy to be boring again, disappear from the headlines and return to near invisibility? Or would you rather be an active, fully-informed participant in the way you consume and pay for electricity on a daily basis? Why not let us know in the comment section.
This article was originally written by Dewi Cooke, Writer.