The term ‘utility death spiral’ has seen a re-emergence recently, especially in Australia. It originally began with a new era of competition as energy markets opened up and the rising costs of some utilities meant that consumers could switch to cheaper alternatives/sources, but still a perfect storm of requirements would be needed – inflexible pricing structures, large defections and the utilities unable to change their behaviour. Later it was the possibility of consumers generating their own power and disruptive competition – technological advancement combined with social need and policy and business development, however it was agreed that the rate design, and the fact that even with pv a consumer would need to be connected to the grid, meant that this ‘death spiral’, although something to be considered and acted upon would be unlikely to happen. Even in recent literature the idea of grid defection with the use of storage was seen as something that would happen in the distant future, but with the launch of Tesla’s Powerwall 2.0 onto the Australian market in December 2016, with storage costs at a rate of $0.23 kWh, and with other companies such as Enphase, GCL Poly, Sonnen and RedFlow also fighting for their place in this growing market, it now makes it cheaper for householders in South Australia to generate and store their own electricity (Figure 1).
IGov 24th Jan 2017 read more »