Staff member
Wasn't there a town in Northern NSW doing something similar? I recall someone posted something about it a while ago


Staff member

Tesla battery scheme rolled out to homes without solar to build virtual power plant in SA
A home battery scheme involving Tesla technology will be expanded to allow low-income South Australian residents without solar panels to participate.

The SA government said the next phase of its virtual power plant (VPP) project would lead to cheaper energy prices for struggling consumers, as well as less pressure on the grid, by storing excess energy generated during low demand.

The installation of Tesla batteries and solar panels in South Australian homes was first announced by the previous government in 2018 as part of a plan to create a VPP.

Solar systems and batteries have so far been supplied and installed free of charge to 1,100 Housing SA homes, with the cost of the project financed through the sale of electricity generated by the panels.

But Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said that not everyone who wanted to participate had been able to, and a variant scheme would be trialled in 20 housing trust homes that were not suited to solar.

"We haven't been able to deliver for all of those people because some of them — their homes weren't quite right for solar," he said.

"Perhaps there's a tree shading the roof, or the roof faces the wrong way, perhaps structurally the roof is not quite right for a solar installation.

"Now we have an opportunity to go back to those homes … and say, 'We've got a different style of offer. We will give you a free battery, in partnership with Tesla'."
It used to be $1,500 with AGL and now it's halved," she said.

"It's very stressful for the big bills but I'm very relieved now … it's changed my life a lot. I've got money now."

The government said the scheme would complement measures to combat the oversupply of solar, and that the 20 participants were still being selected.

"We've been working with Tesla for quite a few years now on the virtual power plant [and have] asked housing trust tenants to put their hands up if they'd like to be part of [it]," he said.

"We'll have a trial, 20 houses, we'll prove it up and then we'll roll it out further across the state."


Staff member
sounds like a good idea. Especially for those that can't get solar panels because they live in units etc.


Head Honcho
Staff member
Yeah. Main need for electricity is airconditioning in summer. The VPP would allow that.


Staff member
For many people like Carol Johansen, living on a budget is a fact of life.

The public housing resident meticulously plans her weekly budget.
"I'm having to be very strict and know where every cent goes with my budget, so I write it all down," she said.
Sometimes the squeeze has meant not using heating — which has been bad for chronic health issues — and missing out on social events.
But since moving into her new home, there has been some relief.
She is now living in one of five two-bedroom, local-council-operated, public-housing units in Nubeena, in southern Tasmania.
The units are part of pilot program run by not-for-profit group Tasman Peninsula Power (TPP), which has set up what it says is the state's first micro-grid.
Five modern public housing units fitting out with solar panels on their roofs.

Tasman Peninsula Power has installed a micro-grid on top of five public housing units in Nubeena. (
Supplied: Tasman Peninsula Power
A micro-grid is a small power network that can run independently of the state's main grid.
Power generated by the network's solar panels goes either directly into the houses or into a nearby centralised battery for storage.
With solar cheap to run, her power bill has substantially reduced and Carol can focus on the important things.
"In the summer the price has cut down to a third of what I was paying … so yeah, there's been a major drop in the price," she said.
"I'm able to go and visit my daughter in Hobart and have a bit more extra to myself."
Micro-grid protecting residents from blackouts
TPP set up the grid through a state government grant.
Company chairman Paul Sutton came up with the idea after the 2013 Dunalley bushfires.
"That emphasised the fact we're so vulnerable around here and we needed reliable power," Mr Sutton said.
"A couple of us got together and thought, 'What can we do?'"
Primrose Sands bushfire

Many peninsula residents had to use generators for power after the bushfires.(
Audience submitted: Kathy Webster
When Mr Sutton and his team heard the council was building a new social-housing block, they decided to jump on it.
"Being social housing, we knew that we could deliver cheaper power to the people here," he said.
The 2013 bushfires are still fresh in the mind of resident Wendy Fox.
Wendy Fox reads her power bill in her kitchen.

Wendy Fox only puts the washing on during off-peak periods, which helps keep her bills down. (
ABC News: Alexandra Alvaro
"It was terrible, especially when the bushfires were on, it went weeks and weeks," she said.
"So we had to have generators and we couldn't use everything."
Alongside uncertainty during the annual bushfire period, Nubeena residents also experience frequent blackouts.
In her old house, Ms Fox would experience blackouts for hours at a time.
A man installing solar panels on a roof.

The micro-grids are designed to be energy efficient.(
Supplied: Tasman Peninsula Power
The local council said it was a longstanding issue.
"For many, many years the peninsula and the whole Tasman region have always had multiple power outages on a regular basis," Tasman Council general manager Kim Hossack said.
"I think it's all come about from, at some stage, lack of maintenance of the lines."
Paul Sutton stands outside a public housing unit that is desked out with solar panels

Paul Sutton started Tasman Peninsula Power in the wake of the 2013 Dunalley fires.(
ABC News: Alexandra Alvaro
But now, because the solar grid can work independently of the state's grid, the residents have reliable power.
So far, the company said, the project had successfully kept the lights on for tenants during two major grid outages which lasted a total of more than seven hours.
The price of the micro-grid power depends on what time of day the residents are using it.
During off-peak times, the power is cheaper to use, and Ms Fox makes sure she's keeping track.
"If you want to wash, you can wash at night and you're on the cheaper power," Ms Fox said.
Potential to expand the program
Ruins of a house after a bushfire

The 2013 bushfires are still fresh in the minds of many in the peninsula area.(
AAP/News Limited: Chris Kidd
The Nubeena micro-grid is a pilot project which the company will use to gauge the program's success.
"When solar generation is lower, heating needs are higher and weather events can cause more frequent outages," Mr Sutton said.
Already though there are plans to get more micro-grids up and running.
"We'd like to do this on many buildings around the peninsula as we can, or even within the state," he said.
"I think any social housing that's in the state now should have a micro-grid.
"To really gauge the success of the project we will need to get through winter, but so far it has all been positive."
The council said it was open to the idea.
"We haven't actually had those formal discussions but I think it would be a commonsense approach moving forward," Ms Hossack said.


we need more of this.


Staff member
there was a guy on the UK version of Dragons Den who had designed, he claimed, a new type of gearbox that is ideally suited to the backyard windmill with a 40:1 ratio ... which is apparently unusual with so few moving parts. This sort of invention will make back yard windmills much more efficient

This is the episode. Unfortunately, he's a better inventor than he is a business man or salesman so they didn't help him ..



Head Honcho
Staff member
Yeah, shame. He was so sunk in the details of his gearbox he couldn’t explain it to the dragons, could not mput it in plain English.


Active member
I want to provide my own electricity and water, but I'm considering building some apartments with shared utilities as a retirement income. I could include the electricity costs into the rent payments and cover the South facing roof with solar panels. I don't think I would try to collect rainwater for tenants because of liability issues if something happens to their drinking water. Electricity is easy because I can utilize net metering and use the grid for energy storage. No batteries. I want to see how my home turns out first before I consider branching out.

I've been considering a vertical axis wind turbine. They aren't quite as efficient, but I don't have to climb a tower. I may be able to incorporate it into my roof somehow.



Staff member
I don't think I would try to collect rainwater for tenants because of liability issues if something happens to their drinking water.
perhaps just connect tank water to the garden taps so they can water gardens and wash cars ... use the mains for taps going inside. Over here taps that are connected to grey water for gardens etc have a little tag attached on the wall or post above the tap to indicate it's not for drinking purposes.

Do something similar with your outside taps and any liability issues are taken care off.


Wonder woman
I've lived on nothing but tank water.. collected rainfall,, for 30 years. But it IS only my liability.

Lots of ideas out there.


Staff member
Great News

New charging stations for electric vehicles to be installed in 18 regional Queensland towns
Distance will be no barrier to electric vehicle road trippers with outback Queensland set to join the electric super highway.

New charging stations will be installed in 18 regional towns under stage three of the Queensland Electric Super Highway (QESH) project.

The highway already has 31 stations stretching from Cairns to Coolangatta and west to Toowoomba, and is set to almost double to 3,800 kilometres.

Way of the future
The owner of Toowoomba's Drayton Medical Centre, Anupam Kumar, was an early adopter of electric vehicles (EV).

He said the expansion of charging stations would entice him further afield.

"I would take my car as far as it can go," Dr Kumar said.

"I love camping and I tow my campervan with my Tesla, so if there were more charging stations, I would go to more western and rural parts of Australia to camp and enjoy."
If you build it, they will come

The outback is four-wheel drive country, so why do rural towns need charging stations?

Carly Irving is the executive general manager of Yurika, part of Energy Queensland, which is constructing the QESH.

Ms Irving said it was a chicken and egg situation.

"If you need the infrastructure for people to be able to travel, they cannot travel if there is no infrastructure," she said.

"We really want people to visit the sites and the communities. We want to be ahead of the game, so that when people start to take up electric vehicles (EV) more readily, the infrastructure is already there.
"We are really focusing on allowing our customers, community and people to be able to go up and down the coast and not have that anxiety and know that they are going to get from one place to another."

The chargers are strategically placed 180 to 200km apart to ensure EVs have enough charge to travel between stations.

The Queensland government said it was another way it was working towards its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

Australia slow on the uptake
Only seven EVs were sold per 10,000 vehicles in Queensland last year, meaning Australia has the lowest rate of electric car ownership among developed countries.

Car manufacturers have blamed a lack of federal government incentives for the slow uptake, while other advocates have lamented EVs being caught in the "culture wars".

Leader of Katter's Australian Party and State Member for Traeger, Robbie Katter, believed the government's EV push was more political than practical.

Mr Katter said the decision to spend millions on charging stations in rural Queensland was bizarre.

"Let's put it this way – I have never seen a Tesla in Cloncurry," Mr Katter said.

"If only they applied that same thinking to dams, strategic roads and rail infrastructure, that would enable us to build a more prosperous future," he said.

"If the government was serious about reducing transport-related emissions, the money would have been better spent ensuring the state's 4 per cent biofuels mandate was enforced."


Active member
That vertical wind generator looks good, looks safer than the traditional shape.
They aren't as efficient, but they work better in slower wind speeds and in wind that frequently changes direction as they are omnidirectional in design. Getting onto my roof for maintenance would be much easier than climbing a tower or designing, building, and operating a tilt up tower. Protection from lightning would be easier.

I need to read up on wind generators. They can put out AC or be rectified to put out DC, but I need to know more about how they interface with the grid. Do they require an inverter to sync to and feed the grid? I'm looking to do a grid intertied system to avoid batteries, but that could change. With free used batteries from work, I might consider an off grid system for self reliance or the possibility of buying land for less because utilities aren't available. If I do an off grid system, I could do 48VDC for the solar and the wind and feed to a common DC buss for battery charging. Off grid requires much more planning and safeties to prevent the system from damaging itself.


Head Honcho
Staff member
Wind does not supply as much energy as solar—but they can recharge a battery or heat water at night.