A Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) report says a lack of incentives and appropriate policies are hindering Australia’s uptake of distributed energy (DE), a readily available way of decreasing carbon emissions, increasing electricity and water efficiency, and creating billions of dollars in savings.

Western Australia Science reports that the role of current utility providers needs to philosophically change to allow a shift from a delivery-based focus to an energy-interchange one, adding that government regulations are needed to reflect this shift.

According to the report, advancing beyond the centralised energy system a countrywide uptake of DE could save $130bn in the overall cost of energy supply and see an 83 per cent reduction in energy-industry water use by 2050—in a Garnaut 450 parts per million (ppm) CO2 scenario.

CSIRO Principal Research Scientist Dr Geoff James says DE ‘early action’ technologies are the most cost effective and environmentally friendly choice in electricity generation, but its infrastructure implementation face a number of technical, economic, and social barriers.

The report concludes that because of Western Australia’s geography, sparse population and distance from other energy networks a decentralized energy model can be widely beneficial to future electricity needs.

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