Digital Energy Futures using emerging technologies to secure Australia’s power
Monash University has signed up to a huge AU$2.3 million (US$1.6million) research project, spanning three years and involving some of the biggest organisations in Australia’s energy sector.
The collaboration will look at how emerging technologies are shaping the future energy needs of everyday Australians. To get a full picture of the topic, the first of its kind project will incorporate a whole range of departments at Monash, who will be teaming up with key industry partners Ausgrid, AusNet Services and Energy Consumers Australia.
Digital Energy Futures, as the initiative is called, plans to ultimately develop models for tracking and predicting peak electricity demand and broader consumption.
“This valuable collaboration will help us build and maintain consumer confidence, understand their energy use and improve forecasting,” said CEO of Energy Consumers Australia, Rosemary Sinclair. “Our industry will, therefore, be more responsive and flexible to future energy needs.”
Australia has long suffered with a poor energy grid and failing supply, experiencing frequent blackouts, particularly in the more remote areas.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) on Friday forecast that more than a million Victorian households are at risk of being without power this summer during extreme heat.
The forecast also predicts up to 770,000 New South Wales homes will face a blackout risk on a day of extreme heat once the Liddell coal power plant has closed in 2023-24 if contingencies are not made.
“Residential households want more affordable, reliable and sustainable energy solutions, and we’re working smarter to meet these needs,” said CEO of Ausgrid, Richard Gross.
“Partnering with Monash and our customers will help us identify changing trends in household electricity demand. With this deeper understanding of energy use, we can improve our services.”
The research project will be led by Associate Professor Yolande Strengers and Professor Sarah Pink from the Monash Emerging Technologies Research Lab.
The country is in a major shift in its energy supply, and this research could not come at a better time.
Australia, which was the 15th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2015, has taken a number of steps to encourage renewable adoption. The national government, as part of its aim to meet the target to produce 33,000 gigawatt-hours of clean energy by 2020, has subsidised the construction of wind, solar and hydro energy.