Data drives energy system of the future

Friday, 22 February, 2019

Data drives energy system of the future

A new research program designed to help deliver a secure, affordable and sustainable energy future for Australia has been established. The National Energy Analytics and Research (NEAR) Program steered by national science agency CSIRO, the Australian Government and AEMO will provide comprehensive information to underpin key decision-making in a bid to tackle summer energy challenges and high power bills.

The program will collect, integrate and enhance energy use information and deliver data, including energy consumption patterns, demographics, building characteristics, appliance uptake and weather statistics, to decision-makers and the public through a tailored web platform. Currently, this type of data is held by numerous parties, formatted to different standards and access is often restricted.

CSIRO project leader Dr Adam Berry said the NEAR Program is the first of its kind, bringing together data not previously available and publishing new datasets. "In times of rapid change in the energy sector, we need rich data to plan for the energy system of tomorrow," Dr Berry said. "This is particularly true in summer when the Australian energy system is most under strain due to high consumer demand and the increased likelihood of extreme weather events."

Over periods of extreme heat or system stress, outputs from the NEAR Program will help identify areas of risk and provide evidence to support appropriate demand-response options. The program will also address increasing energy costs, linking consumer patterns with energy sector data to build a fuller picture of the modern Australian energy user. This will support research focused on simultaneously increasing comfort and lowering costs for Australian homes.

Dr Berry added, "Major investments in our energy system depend on accurate, long-term forecasting, and NEAR Program data and research can support dramatic improvements in the way we do this."

NEAR Program research has already contributed important data to the ACCC's Retail Electricity Prices Inquiry, quantifying the impact of tariff structures on electricity costs for Australian households.

Image courtesy of CSIRO.

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