The Australian Government has announced $2.7 million in funding for an innovative Wattwatchers smart energy meter program.
The funds will be provided by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) towards the development of My Energy Marketplace, a consumer-facing data hub designed to provide greater visibility and management of energy within a building.
Around 5000 households and businesses and 250 schools are expected to take part in the initiative, which ARENA and third-party organisations such as the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) hope will provide savings on power bills while providing important insights into when, where and how much energy is being put into the grid through rooftop solar production and other household batteries.
"Whether it’s rooftop solar, battery storage, energy efficiency, controlling electricity loads and appliances remotely, or the uptake of electric vehicles, we need better data to effectively run the future grid consisting of more and more decentralised consumer energy assets," says ARENA CEO Darren Miller.
"The Wattwatchers project is designed to provide both the data and consumer participation needed to manage an increasingly decentralised electricity system. This also aligns strongly with other ARENA-funded initiatives for Distributed Energy Resources (DER), demand responses and new marketplaces."
The three year, $8 million My Energy Marketplace project will allow for real time monitoring and sharing through a cloud-based app platform. IoT devices will allow platform users to connect to building appliances and optimise energy use through peak periods.
"With more and better data, consumers will be better informed to buy their energy. They can identify and take action on energy efficiency opportunities, both behavioural and appliance-driven, and use energy at times that suit them," says Wattwatchers CEO Gavin Dietz. He believes the initiative will play an important part in demonstrating the value of smart energy meters for users and the energy sector at large.
"Network businesses and market operators currently have poor visibility of the low-voltage grid, which is connected to over 10 million Australian consumer sites, and face a mission critical challenge to both see and control DER as Australia moves to higher and higher penetration of renewable energy, especially small-scale solar."
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