“Free electricity” could be just around the corner.
Thanks to the increasing role of solar photovoltaics and other renewables, electricity could soon be free, or at least ‘too cheap to meter’, meaning how we pay for power will have to be rethought in the future.
As we move away from fossil fuels and ultimately rely on renewables (and nuclear), according to The Ecologist, industry costs will be determined by the number and size of the electricity generators needed, rather than the fuel burned in them. Historically, the cost of power has been governed by the price of oil, coal and gas.
Over the coming years, to meet national and European targets for CO2 and industrial pollution, existing coal plants will be phased out and gas will be reserved for periods of peak demand. Most electricity will be provided by nuclear and renewables, supplemented during the winter by gas and some coal. There will be considerable costs in building the infrastructure needed to phase out traditional power stations, but, once this has been built, the ‘fuel’ – wind, sun, even nuclear – has little or no costs. For renewables, operating costs will effectively be zero.
At peak times in the winter, when sun is scarce and demand is high, fossil fuels would have to contribute, which could see a surge in price at the point when we need power most. In the summer, however, electricity could be ‘free’. If consumers were charged on their contribution to national peak load, rather than energy consumption, energy could really become too cheap to meter.
Read the full article, here: