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Planes, Trains and Automobiles


What does a completely renewable future entail for Tasmanians?

Well according to the politicians we are already there but in reality we have a way to go before we are a completely renewable energy energised society.

We have our Hydro Electric dams and we have a lot of wind generation plus a rapidly growing solar energy take up

amongst commercial and domestic customers. For our general electrical requirements it’s well established we are miles in front of the entire mainland.

But we still have cars, freight movement and aircraft travel to decarbonise and switch over to renewable energy sources. Unfortunately it doesn’t matter how much you like to hug trees these are certainly going to be major hurdles to overcome. But they are largely engineering hurdles and hurdles of overcoming the fear of change mare than the change itself.


Cars we have Electric Vehicles on the horizon and looking at the rest of the world this seems to be main direction personal transportation will be taking.  The products available today will do what we ask of them but we need more charging infrastructure and they need to be more affordable. It will happen, I have no doubt and solar inverter manufacturers know it too with a lot of bigger inverter manufacturers putting car charging capacity into their products to meet these future needs.

In the early days cars were only for the wealthy and early adopters. They had the same constraints Electric vehicles have today. Their range wasn’t great, no one stocked fuel because in the early days cars were still displaying horses and towns were stocked with hay, grain and livery stables but no gasoline. Eventually though displace horses they did until they got to where we are today where nearly every home has an average of 2 or more vehicles.

If we look back at history we can sort of see the bones of how a major change in transportation will take place as we have done it all before. The needs haven’t changed in that people need to get from point A to B but we are changing the energy source. Horses were hay, grain and grass. Cars were processed mineral oil and now electric vehicles which is just electricity which ideally should be sourced from renewable sources.

So it will be first the innovation or invention.

Followed by early adopters.

Followed by supporting infrastructure.

With eventual mass roll out and acceptance of the technology.

It’s all been done before in different guises and there has always been the naysayers, political interference, logistical

hurdles and problems along the way to arriving at where a new technology becomes the accepted norm. And one day electric vehicles maybe displaced by a better technology. I’m hoping that it’s flying cars as the Jetsons’s promised me flying cars in my childhood and I want my flying car.

The biggest change with electric vehicles is we will be able to charge our vehicles from our home solar systems or from a renewable energy powered grid. This concept upsets the status quo of a lot the current infrastructure and fuels sources of established companies and corporations and they don’t want to see their assets stranded before they’ve milked every last dollar out of them. But eventually they won’t be able to compete on price and they will die a natural evolutionary death like other technologies before them like steam trains or bullock trains.

Planes and trains

Mass freight and transportation is a big hurdle to overcome due to the sheer amount of energy required to move the weight and size of the machinery required to shift products and people from point A to point B.

We are still waiting for the innovation and invention in this space. I don’t think batteries will do it but maybe hydrogen will. In staying that China are rolling out electric buses and delivery trucks in huge numbers so I could be proven wrong.

The direction however is set and far greater minds than my own are working on a solution.

As for planes I have a client with an all electric plane but its long way from being at the point where all lined up to board and all electric jumbo but once again there are aircraft manufacturers trialling electric turbines.

Over the next few weeks I will start researching heavy transport and aeroplane innovations and let you all know what I find out.

But it’s not too hard to imagine a future where we come home from work, school or play and plug our car into our home and charge it up using our own energy we harvested off the roof with your DMS Energy solar system. It’s available today for early adopters but it gives us a tantalising glimpse of the next decade and where we could all end up.

DMS Energy is one of Tasmania’s largest and most innovative renewable energy designers and installers. The showroom can be found at 56 Sheffield Rd Spreyton or call on 1300 502 599.

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