Load shedding is an emergency measure implemented when the energy demand surpasses the supply available. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the national regulatory body, will shut down certain parts of the electricity grid to prevent widespread failure and blackouts.
What is load shedding and what does it look like in Australia?
A scenario: cast your mind to one of those all too ubiquitous summer days of sweltering heat. Everyone is struggling to keep cool and they reach for the aircon remote in tandem, but two coal plants that deliver electricity to the region are currently out of action. These unexpected outages have decreased the power supply, but demand continues to rise. The electricity grid is taking more demand than it can sustain, and without action, widespread and lengthy blackouts will ensue. The AEMO has tried everything it can, exhausted all other options, and orders load shedding to take place in a select number of areas.
Who is at the greatest risk of load shedding?
The AEMO is unlikely to choose areas where hospitals or other institutions of necessity are. They’re also unlikely to select areas with a high amount of solar energy generation as these locations and properties are helping to take pressure off the grid – using less grid-based energy and pushing excess power back to the grid.
Sometimes areas will be warned that their power is getting shut off, but other times they won’t. If you rely on the electricity grid for your power, you’re at the mercy of the market operator and where they choose to switch off.
The current energy crisis and load shedding
Australia’s current energy crisis, increased resource scarcity and general inflation in cost of living expenses are well-documented. This reduction in supply, especially the temporary shutdowns of multiple coal plants, has put load shedding back into the news, where it looks set to remain a topic of discussion for the near future. For the average Australian, adopting renewable energy for personal use is the only realistic choice and factor in improving the current resource and cost of living issues.
Solar + battery users take pressure off the grid and can bypass blackouts
Installing a solar + battery system in your home is the best way to reduce your electricity bills and gain greater energy self-reliance. When you get the right-sized battery for your power needs, you’re able to store the excess solar energy you generated in peak periods, using it when you need it most – e.g. blackouts and load shedding events! You're reducing your reliance on electricity networks.
Want to learn more? Read our article Are Solar Batteries Worth it in 2022? to get a clearer idea of whether a solar battery could help you.
Virtual power plants can help prevent load shedding
Virtual power plants (VPP) are the future of energy – a healthy and balanced grid system. Solar owners can participate in a VPP and get paid for the electricity stored on their battery, share their solar energy and use others’ energy when needed. For more information, read our article about VPPs.
South Africa is currently experiencing national load shedding
South Africa is a good example of load shedding needing to be implemented nationally. With ageing infrastructure and an inability to generate the necessary power for the demand, the energy regulator is using load shedding to manage the issue.
The salient part of South Africa’s current load shedding is that there isn’t a short-term fix other than households heavily cutting back on their energy use in peak times. Moreover, regular national outages hurt the economy, so governments worldwide will no doubt be taking notice of what’s happening in South Africa.
Western Australia has experienced load shedding.
In January of 2020, an estimated 100,000 Perth homes had their power cut by Western Power, after a generator failed and the energy supply wasn’t enough for the demand. Although the blackouts lasted a matter of hours, they were widespread and left around 8% of Western Power’s clientele in the dark.
Join the future and invest in a solar + battery system
The best way to avoid load shedding is to increase your energy independence. With a solar + battery system, you can generate, store and use clean energy on your terms. Here at Plico, we want everyone to be able to make the switch to renewable energy; that’s why we’ve introduced a new way to go solar. Get a solar + battery system installed at your home for no big upfront costs and one low weekly fee, with ten years of maintenance and support from our specialists.
Chat with one of the switched-on Plico team members on 1300 175 426, or use our Solar Savings Calculator to get an idea of how much you could save.