Exploring the death spiral
The electricity industry worldwide is talking about the so-called death spiral. Under this scenario conventional electricity network are undermined by customers reducing their energy demand through energy efficiency measures and/or private generation, mainly rooftop solar photovoltaic panels (PV). Both processes reduce the quantum of electricity purchased from the network, thereby reducing revenue to the network. As many of the network costs are fixed, this necessarily implies increasing unit costs and therefore increasing tariff charges for electricity. The tariff increases merely exacerbate the problem - hence the 'spiral' reference. In this study these issues are considered in the context of Western Australia's south-west interconnect system (SWIS). The effect of increasing rooftop solar PV and the potential in the future for private electrical storage are modelled using the technique called system dynamics.
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