Home Energy

Electricity from Australia's grid

Electricity is supplied to many Australian homes via the national electricity grid, a network of power lines. Around 90% of Australia's electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, a major source of greenhouse emissions.

Alternatively, you can choose electricity from government-accredited GreenPower sources
instead. An amount equivalent to your electricity use is sourced from cleaner renewable sources, like wind and solar power, and put onto the grid. Ask your electricity provider about GreenPower or visit www.greenpower.gov.au.

Signing up for GreenPower costs around a cappuccino
per week and helps reduce your contribution to the greenhouse effect and climate change.

Remember that GreenPower often costs a little more per unit of electricity, but that doesn't have to mean that it's more expensive. If you combine GreenPower purchasing with energy efficiency, you'll find that overall it can be a cost-neutral exercise, or even one that ultimately saves money.


Home energy systems

Another option for household energy is making your own. Electricity systems can be grid-connected or completely separate to the national grid. Off-the-grid renewable energy power systems can be cost effective energy alternatives for areas with high connection costs. Typically, these systems store excess electricity in a battery so that it can be used
in times of low output. They are sometimes used on caravans and mobile homes.

Alternatively, home energy technology can be connected to the national electricity
grid. Such systems are called 'grid interactive systems'. Grid interactive systems mean that the electricity grid can provide back-up electricity supplies when your home's system isn't supplying enough to meet the needs of the moment. Conversely, any electricity produced that isn't immediately needed in the house is fed onto the grid. If you use more electricity than your system produces, you pay your retailer only for the net difference. However, if
you use less electricity than your system produces, you can sell that green electricity to
the grid. With an adequately sized system, you may never have to pay another electricity bill.

The most common types of home power systems are mini wind turbines,
photovoltaic (PV) arrays (which produce solar electricity) and micro-hydro generators
that produce hydro-power off the flow of a river or large creek. Wind and hydro systems
can obviously only be used in areas that are windy or that have a suitable watercourse. However, solar arrays can be used pretty much anywhere with roof space that
isn't overshadowed.