George Orwell wrote: “Our civilisation is founded on coal … The machines keep us alive and the machines that make machines, are all directly or indirectly dependent upon coal”.
From colonisation until recently, Australia too has been dependent on coal and gas and the large spinning turbines that turn these ancient, buried resources into electrons.
Managing an electricity system based on fossil fuel power stations is like trying to drive a lumbering diesel semi-trailer up and down steep winding mountain roads. It’s complex, difficult to balance and sometimes the wheels come loose.
Now Australia is powered more and more by sunshine and wind. Solar PV systems have no moving parts; wind turbines don’t have the heavy inertia of fossil power plants; batteries are a form of ‘digital electricity storage’ and can release electricity in pretty much any form they can be programmed to deliver.
[Dr. Gabrielle Kuiper ]