NSW’s essential services act 1988 states that the production, supply and even the distribution of any kind of energy, power or fossil fuel comes within the realm of crucial services. Thus, Australia recognises energy provision as an essential service which includes the multitude of renewable energy projects that are still in progress as well as those in operation across the country.
Clean energy, which accounts for more than 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity, is a critical part of the economy. This is the reason why renewable power generation systems and storage units must operate flexibly even in the face of a calamity like the coronavirus pandemic.
Future restrictions levied in response to the COVID-19 crisis for ‘non-essential’ business activity, must recognise that the operation and maintenance of renewables systems and energy storage projects are ‘essential’ by nature. Authorities must make exceptions for construction and installation, along with energy transmission and distribution of renewable energy.
The Pressing Need to Maintain Renewable Energy and Storage as an Essential Service
Australia’s energy industry must continue maintaining, installing and connecting power generation assets if it intends to accomplish its Sustainable Development Goals 7. In an attempt to fight the ills of COVID-19, Australia must organise the renewable energy and energy storage sector as they fall under the essential services category.
Renewable Energy and Storage: Underlying Issues During COVID-19
There is a need to shed further more light on the installation of renewables, for example, rooftop solar installations and commercial or utility-scale PV projects during the COVID-19 crisis. There is also an immediate need to recognise the essential nature of the installation, operation and maintenance of renewable energy sources and energy storage, alongside energy transmission and distribution.
To maintain the strength of the solar energy grid in Australia, the industry on the whole needs to move its specialised workers and equipment to address the needs of solar plants and systems in different locations and jurisdictions. Since renewable energy generation plants don’t need specialist staff and spare parts on-site at all times, governments can meet the equipment failures and maintenance needs with flexibility. Simple measures like resource-pooling for rapid responses and seamless business continuity in specific locations are also deemed necessary.
Coming to small-scale solar power generation units, allowing installations would help Australian the population find relief from high electricity bills that result from extended home confinement during lockdowns. Such relaxations would also offer job security in the time of crisis to thousands employed in the sector.
Installing solar panels does not mandate close contact between a customer and the solar technician. Thus, the risk is negligible if customers choose to install a solar system during the crisis. Natural Solar Company deals in solar panels, inverters and batteries. As a solar systems vendor, it is committed to following government-issued health advice to protect Australians, as it carries out its usual business, limiting the corona spread in communities where it operates.