Malcolm Turnbull has battery storage installed in Point Piper home

Malcolm Turnbull has battery storage installed in Point Piper home

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PM Malcolm Turnbull has installed battery storage at his Point Piper home and upgraded his rooftop solar system.

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New South Wales residents were spared rolling outages in the weekend’s heatwave, but if the lights had gone out in Pt Piper, Malcolm Turnbull just might have been able to stay cool: that’s because the PM’s harbourside property now has battery storage.

RenewEconomy on Monday confirmed with the PM’s office that a battery storage device was installed in Turnbull’s private property late last year. It is believed to be 14kWh of LG Chem lithium-ion battery, to complement his rooftop solar array previously installed and recently upgraded to 14kW.

Turnbull house

That battery storage – depending on its configuration, and the choice of inverter – might be able to provide back-up to keep the lights and many other appliances on in the event of any blackouts in coal-dependent NSW.

It could also help the multi-millionarie save a few dollars a day by storing the output of his solar array for use in the evening, particularly after the loss of any premium solar tariffs he may have had.

In the case of forced rolling blackouts, a waterside suburb like Point Piper would be a sensible choice for the “load shedding”, given that the temperatures are likely to be significantly below inland suburbs.

The installation of battery storage into his home highlights the incredibly conflicting signals from Turnbull, a man who once spoke glowingly about 100 per cent renewable energy goals.

Turnbull has shown huge interest in cutting edge technology – such as his fascination with the Tesla Model S electric vehicle and battery storage, the energy revolution and grid optimisation.

turnbull tesla

This is what he wrote after that visit nearly two years to the day, where he said he was “thrilled” by his test drive, particularly the massive acceleration, when he visited the Tesla factory in California.

“Batteries have the potential to revolutionise the energy market, reducing peaking power requirements, optimising grid utilisation of renewables and in some cases enabling consumers to go off the grid altogether.

“The excitement of technology in the Bay Area is exhilarating…..but not quite as palpable as the jolt you feel when you hit the accelerator!”

No such talk now of an energy revolution. Turnbull’s energy policies are best symbolised by the lump of coal brought into Question Time by Treasurer Scott Morrison last Thursday.

Indeed, it may be the defining moment of this parliamentary term for the Coalition, just as the celebrations of the canning of the carbon price marked the Abbott regime. (See pic below).

carbon repeal

But given Turnbull’s interest in new technology and innovation, wouldn’t have been wonderful if, for instance, the Coalition had brought in a piece of software – an energy management device – to prove that policy makers did have the tools to manage a modern grid.

It is smart software, and a new approach to managing the grid, that is going to help avoid the blackouts. It will allow for better forecasts, better demand response (where energy users volunteer to cut their use – and get paid for it, rather than having cuts imposed) and to get maximum value out of battery storage – providing system reliability, peak demand, and deferring network investment.

Of course, that would require a change of rules, and a recognition that the grid is shifting rapidly from one based around baseload power, to once where renewables provide “base-cost” and back-up power, storage, and smart software fill in the gaps.

Millions of Australians understand that this is the future – and like Turnbull – are looking to install battery storage. Perhaps the biggest question is whether Turnbull will grow as frustrated as other citizens over the lack of political direction and rising costs of grid power and join Greens leader Richard di Natale – and thousands of others – in going off-grid!

(RenewEconomy is seeking more details about the nature of Turnbull’s battery storage. Will update when we know).

Update: the PM’ office informs us he has 14kW rooftop solar PV and 14kWh of battery storage. We have updated story to reflect that. A bit more and the PM could go off-grid!


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  1. Paul McArdle 4 years ago

    When you have them, Giles, will also list here as part of the Energy Storage Register:

  2. Paul McArdle 4 years ago

    When you have them, Giles, will also list here as part of the Energy Storage Register:

  3. Paul McArdle 4 years ago

    When you have them, Giles, will also list here as part of the Energy Storage Register:

  4. JeffJL 4 years ago

    I don’t believe Malcolm Trumble has any driving passions. He is at heart a lawyer. Willing to say anything to win an argument. Even if it is different to what he said in the past. Generally he does not outright lie, just use weasel words and supply only part of the truth.

    ps. Busy today Giles. We usually have to wait until later before stories are posted. I am liking this (but it is playing havoc with my time management.

    • Brunel 4 years ago

      Yep. Someone made a very sage comment recently – probably on MacroBusiness.

      Turnbull used to work as a lawyer and represent the interests of his client. Today he is doing the same by being a puppet of the “donors”.

    • Adam 4 years ago

      ” willing to say anything…..”
      Just like Donald Trump.

    • Roger Brown 4 years ago

      He has been Lying since the S.A black-outs , on the renewables Wind and Solar power. I know he is lying , his lips are moving .

    • stalga 4 years ago

      Its called lying by omission.

  5. Rob G 4 years ago

    Mr “Renewable” Harbourside Mansion…

    • Giles 4 years ago


    • Ken Dyer 4 years ago

      Well said Rob. I wonder if he has camouflaged the battery cabinet as a lump of coal, so Scotty and Greggy and Joycy and Cabbage Head wont notice it.

  6. Adam 4 years ago

    Really interesting expose of the pm’s utter hypocrisy, and certification of how heartless or just plain dumb he can be.
    I really thought Donald Trump was an a-hole, but our leaders are just as bad in their own heartless way. Our elected parliamentarians don’t rule. Greed does.

    • MaxG 4 years ago

      We started this non-sense with Abbott, then the UK with BREXIT, and the US with Trump… it will get far worse…

    • CrankyFranky 4 years ago

      the usual accusation of flip-flopping politicians – how can I trust them if they change their mind !?!?!

      to which I prefer the response – ‘when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do ?’

  7. Dan Lee 4 years ago

    As Paul briefly touched on below, we’ve added this installation to our energy storage register here:

  8. Barri Mundee 4 years ago

    This would seem to demonstrate conclusively that Turnbull has sacrificed his principles in order to keep his job. That in turn requires placating the hard liners in his COALition.

    If only he had insisted he needs to be permitted to change course from Abbott’s hard line on renewables, on cost cutting and be able to implement the more positive agenda he envisaged so much could be better. After all, the future with Abobt would have been certain defeat.

  9. Tim Buckley 4 years ago

    total hypocrisy, look at what he does, not what he says. Anything to hold onto his chair, including selling our country’s future down the drain, or maybe that should be into the inferno of bushfires. Bizarre, what hold does the largely foreign owned fossil fool industry have over him and our other ‘elected’ leaders? Are their donations that pivotal to our MPs? If so it is absolutely time for donation reform, an end to the revolving door and a Federal ICAC.

    • The Awul Truth 4 years ago

      The cold hard realities for the Liberals:
      – Public companies don’t dare fund them in elections for fear of labor retribution
      – Unions do fund labor
      – So they are at the mercy of private companies and individuals, often large personalities with big “asks”.

      Gina wants a coal plant in the Galilee basin that she doesn’t want to pay for to make the Adani / GVK mine numbers work. Not easy for Turnbull given she has Cory, Barnaby and Canavan in her pocket. Donations reform would be great but would Labor give up their structural advantage in union donations? Not in a million years.

      It is a great pity that renewable related industries are so bad at value capture (ie, making money). If they managed to not transfer more or less the entire surplus to consumers we might have some lobbyists on the other side.

  10. phred01 4 years ago

    he undermining clean coal

  11. Roger Brown 4 years ago

    Great News ! truffles has a BOMB planted in his “Pink Investment” ! He might have to get it moved to outside the house ? Bet he had the Fit $olar power and then updates to 14kWh of solar panels / inverter after the solar program was stopped in Nsw.
    Tight- arse Turnball .

    • MaxG 4 years ago

      You have to understand: you learn saving from the rich! 🙂

      • Roger Brown 4 years ago

        So I should get a Cayman Island account ? OR do deals with the Mafia and Ca$hino owners ? Well, I am on the Qld Fit program till 2028 and Origin chips in a extra 6 cents a kWh . Bought a new Panasonic 4k camera with last yrs Bonus and no bills , all with a 3 Kw system and a Solarhart Hot water system .

        • MaxG 4 years ago

          Before getting the account you need to figure out how to avoid paying taxes… 🙂

  12. Rod 4 years ago

    He has probably signed up to Reposit. Needs the cash for the LNP.
    That’s why he is pushing coal to get the wholesale energy price up.

  13. Eastern Trisha 4 years ago

    The PM does not appear to have the political know-how to implement the changes he believes in and we desperately need. He could just implement the necessary renewable change and live with the consequence (risking his position as PM and even as a member of the LNP) but surely that would be better than letting the entire country down on his watch. Even better, he could find a way to implement the right strategies (anti coal, pro renewable) without losing his position as PM. But that would take talent and political skill that he doesn’t appear to have. He may be rich. But the skill and talent required to negotiate a better future for Australians evades him.

  14. Jaquix 4 years ago

    I could have sworn he would have had a coal-fired boiler in the basement.

  15. Pip Darvall 4 years ago

    The alternative of course is that the PM is so tied up in knots with internal (?infernal) infighting that the only place he can do what he really wants is at home? A PM’s home is his castle perhaps.

  16. Robert Comerford 4 years ago

    LG Chem ? So he didn’t have the decency to buy Australian for his battery backup.

  17. AB 4 years ago

    When the leader of our country talks about ‘Jobs and Growth’ clearly he is’nt talking about Australia otherwise he would have supported an Aussie ‘home grown’ battery such as RedFlow, regardless of the cost!

  18. Dave 4 years ago

    How did he manage 14 kW array ?
    I was under the impression that inverters were limited to 5 kW and array was set to 125% of array ? ….. or did that rule change ( again )

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