They've got it right, the future will involve a disassociation between the production and use of energy; until now it's been near impossible for a proportion of UK homes to consider self-sufficiency and 'off grid' homes.
Simply because when the sun is shining at it's brightest we tend to be at work; so even if our solar panels are busy doing their job, the lack of demand for energy at the house (perhaps only powering the fridge, freezer, and the skybox recording Eastenders) results in a pure-export scenario i.e. the majority or all of the energy generated is being exported back on to the grid; it's not an efficient model (transporting energy results in significant losses of energy so ideally we don't want to have to send it further than the roof or the back-yard to the kettle a couple of floors below).
Some of the government subsidies around Solar PV have been poorly thought out; encouraging the installation of solar in to homes, where we have this pure-export scenario, rather than into businesses (where we have enough demand during the day to utilise the generation) feels like a skew towards the voter, but in the same breath the subsidies had to be slashed in half; putting off today's investor and creating uncertainty.
To bring back some certainty we end up with additional taxes (Cfd, CM; see our EMR blog/guide) and a reminder in 2018 that the government will have to create pain, during this time of deficit, if it's to hit the UK's legally binding carbon emissions in 2020 & 2050.
So what else can we expect?
The TESLA battery gives us the opportunity to indulge in the latest technology, to increase our energy demands, and not to have to worry about the supply (as TESLA is giving us this on tap!?. Despite this potential solution we are still going to have to focus on driving down peak demand and smoothing out our energy consumption to achieve any sort of relationship between our finite resources and growing populations.
As globalisation spreads across the east and the tigers industrial thirsts continue to grow (un-restricted by regulatory diets served under compliance with the EU) our simultaneous demands for energy at 5.30pm-6.00pm are unthinkable in the future! We'd simple be blacking out and burning everything but the kitchen sink to try and stay a float.
From here energy saving cannot be simple a measure of total kWH but must be defined in terms of kW peak too; that is 10kWH with a peak of 10kW is worse than 10kWH with a peak of 5kW. This statement would not ring true had our resources not been finite; it's the fact that they are finite and our production becomes more carbon intensive as we increase kW peak demand too.
So expect to say goodbye to your current Dyson, 3 second hand dryers at the services, and theme parks by 2050; that is without some seriously clever balancing of demands via the smart grid, advancement in CCS and Hydrogen fuel cell technology we'd all be 'ordering' a slot to hoover or to use the washing machine.
The next 5 years will certainly see the use of smart grid technology delivering greater automation and control and the big-data to road map our energy use habits as a population....
What's clear is TESLA's home battery isn't a gimmick, it's a serious investment in the future & the start of a journey that automates an improved relationship with energy; to keep an eye on your TESLA Power Wall head over to their website;