Families will have more control over their energy use with CSIRO's web-based energy management system
Transforming the way we manage energy
CSIRO is developing an automated system to make electricity use by small consumers as efficient and cost-effective as it is for large industry players.
29 July 2011 | Updated 21 June 2012
Energy service companies (ESCOs) work with large energy consumers to improve the use of energy and reduce costs for their clients. For example, an ESCO might negotiate the scheduling of processes that require a lot of energy for a time when energy is not already in high demand and therefore at a higher price.
Such demand side response services mean, among other things, that energy suppliers get a smoother, more predictable load on their grid and industries pay a lower price for the energy they use with less chance of receiving a degraded service.
Demand side services have traditionally only been viable for large energy consumers because managing energy use in this ‘on demand’ way is a manual process.
Until now, it has been logistically impossible and cost prohibitive to switch on or off thousands of devices at hundreds of sites at any time and/or short notice.
Through the Energy Transformed Flagship CSIRO's experts in information and communication technologies (ICT) are taking advantage of widespread broadband internet connections to bring small consumers together so they have the scale of a large electricity customer.
Our universal energy services (UES) platform comprises:
- web-based remote energy management system for ESCOs
- mini meters on each circuit in the consumers premises to monitor and control electricity use
- a gateway for connecting consumers to ESCOs.
CSIRO’s main contribution to this project is developing the energy management systems for ESCOs.
CSIRO has considerable expertise building and verifying services architectures that involve aggregating thousands – even millions – of remote nodes into a functioning network.
The UES infrastructure can be easily retrofitted to existing buildings and is much cheaper than installing local generators or ‘intelligent home’ automation systems.
CSIRO is taking advantage of widespread broadband internet connections to bring small consumers together so they have the scale of large commercial electricity customers.
Benefits to consumers include:
- lower electricity bills and smaller environmental footprint
- ability to monitor energy consumption and electricity expenses in real time either remotely or locally
- flexibility to change energy management plans easily, for example to reduce costs or environmental impact.
Benefits to ESCOs include:
- access to commercially valuable information such as real time consumption data
- potential to value-add to consumption data with products such as demand forecasting or electricity supply fault detection
- opportunity of entering the electricity market with small scale consumers ‘mixed and matched’ into larger virtual sites based on their demand and control profiles.
Benefits to electricity suppliers include:
- more accurate prediction of energy demand
- more efficient use of energy
- smoother demand across the grid and over time.
We are working on this project with:
- Hydro Tasmania, on their world leading King Island demand side management program
- Tasmanian engineering firm Saturn South, who developed the mini-meter hardware used in the UES platform. Their entry to the 2010 C-Star awards (the Tasmanian Government’s prize recognising the commercialisation of science, technology and research) was highly commended: the first time a runner-up has been so recognised.
Read more about the technical details behind this project in Residential scale energy services [external link].