Australia’s solar industry is booming, and the private sector is leading the charge. Solar investments present a good opportunity for building owners and operators to capitalise on cheaper and more reliable electricity generated onsite. However, the constraints of the network and limited visibility in behind-the-meter assets are stifling equitable access to the energy market; chiefly, no dynamic export limitations to meet demand.
Having visibility into generation within the operation of a building in concert with market pricing signals is key to realising new income streams and ensuring a reliable and efficient electrical system. In short, we have the capability to transform the electricity network now with the infrastructure currently available. According to AEMO and the AEMC, regulatory change, policy and infrastructure to enable device-to-market mechanisms are closer than you might think.
However, despite the obvious need, a clear path forward remains elusive. Our vision for the future energy market and the grid is one where data is central to operation, resulting in an energy system imbued with capability.
So, what are the benefits?
A technologically designed smart grid will benefit asset owners, not retailers and governments resulting in numerous mechanisms for benefit.
For small-market customers:
- participation in pooled, localised energy consumption,
- Peer-to-Peer trading,
- peak lopping for tariff change,
- advanced maintenance and weather predictive regimes,
- retail demand response and equitable and dynamic retailer feed-in tariffs.
For large market customers, Government or commercial customers:
- Ancillary network service contracts and payments,
- wholesale spot market participation,
- peak lopping, and
- operating Distributed Energy Resources (DERs).
So how is this to be achieved?
Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) can be enabled by:
A technologically capable future smart grid needs political leadership, policy and regulatory market-led change.
The supply chain will leverage the strengths of market participants in delivering growth and value for customers, end-users and society.
The government will provide policy, legislation and standards conveyed and implemented by AEMO to network operators based on the platform’s technological capability; scalable, real-time architecture based on standardised and open data frameworks and APIs.
Applications developers can design apps that leverage technological capability to provide high-value products and services that meet technological standards with an emphasis on data privacy and security.
Applications developers can partner with retailers to leverage their networks and customer base to offer value-added services to consumers.
Likewise, consultants like us (Buildings Evolved), can offer value-added services to application providers, such as:
- defining and evaluating the technological business case,
- IP to onboard brownfield and legacy sites,
- bespoke report writing services to suit organisational need, etc.
The future system will encourage the sector to innovate and provide better data-related products and services by leveraging scientific and academic partnerships.
Several academic and research organisations such as UCL and the CSIRO are developing standardised data platforms, architectures and control algorithms essential for customer/end-user controls for Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) smart meter/network operations to:
- derive data from living laboratories to study the built environment,
- modelling predictive control algorithms to exploit a building’s thermal dynamics and weather forecast data, and
- dynamic ontologies to manage metadata that describe semantic relationships between physical systems.
Together with existing bodies of work, a standardised and unified approach to data management in the energy sector will function to unleash technological capability; advanced smart controls and tested applications to offer better data-related products and services to the market.
Key takeaways are:
- change is coming,
- the solution is data-centric,
- policymakers need to get on board,
- to benefit, be prepared, and exploit change.
For more information on how your organisation can prepare for the data-led energy revolution, exploit change and generate new income streams contact Buildings Evolved today.