Supporting Australia’s growth plans with smart energy management

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Off the coast of King Island, Tasmania, Wave Swell is a man-made vent and turbine that harnesses tidal forces to sustainably power 200 homes for a year. Australia will need smarter solutions like this award-winning home-engineered innovation as it strives to provide power to its population – currently at 26 million and growing.

Smart solutions need smart people, and the federal government has pledged to permanently increase the number of skilled migrants to 195,000 per year, which could mean that with new migration targets, the country’s population could reach 40 million by 2050.

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The population of the world, scaled. Picture: Meaning

Sustaining this significant increase will require careful management of key resources – from food and energy to environment and water. One of the most pressing challenges is energy management – ​​the country’s energy consumption has fallen from 4,000 PJ per year to 6,200 PJ, increasing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 50%.

Australia is making progress in the transition to green energy and electrified transport, albeit slowly, and much more can be done to accelerate the transition, especially as the technology to manage the country’s energy consumption is readily available.

The high carbon footprint of Australians

At 17 tonnes per capita per year, Australians already have one of the highest carbon footprints, although there is an overwhelming desire to fix it. A recent Finder.com report showed that over 65% of Australians are concerned about their personal carbon footprint.

Home energy use is one of the biggest contributors to Australians’ carbon footprint. this can and should be better monitored and managed. One of the technologies currently available in Australia to achieve this is Sense, an advanced artificial intelligence technology that runs on next-generation smart meters.

Sense’s Global Managing Director, Michael Jary, said: “Sense’s machine learning algorithms analyze high-resolution electrical data and identify patterns in the electrical signal, enabling a breakdown of household electricity consumption down to the of the device in real time.

Sense was founded by voice recognition pioneers, and they evolved the technology to be able to “listen” and analyze the electrical signatures of household appliances.

By sampling current at high resolution, Sense-enabled meters give owners a real-time, reflective view of their consumption by device while alerting them to potential outages.

“You have to measure consumption to manage it, and for the growing number of sustainability-conscious consumers in Australia, these smart meters are an invaluable tool,” said Mr Jary.

Effective energy management is essential

To support Australia’s rapid population growth and meet its energy needs, increasing supply must go hand in hand with efficient management of available energy.

Sense can play a pivotal role in this by providing utility providers with more accurate, real-time demand forecasts. This, in turn, maximizes investment in electricity infrastructure and aggregates electricity generation and demand that can be used by the wholesale market.

Jary said behavioral demand response becomes much more efficient with real-time device detection.

“Consumers get nudges to opt out of specific high-drain devices. This facilitates action, maximizing both load and participation.

“At large scale, the controlled load becomes reliable and predictable, eliminating the need for direct control. Consumption, voltage and frequency can be managed cost-effectively via home meters.

“Homes can move 4.5 times more load during peak demand or when the hour of use (TOU) rate changes,” Jary said.

Ensuring reliable power supply is essential, and as Australia enters its third La Nina season, extremely wet conditions can lead to overgrown trees and falling branches, both of which can interfere with power lines and interrupt the power supply.

Counter integrated in Sense

A counter integrated into Sense. Picture: Meaning

With outage detection insight from multiple Sense-enabled meters in a given region, energy providers can quickly geolocate the source of a faulty power line – mitigating time wasted by repair crews traveling for long periods of time searching for damaged power lines – and helping quickly get help to the specific fault location. With Australia’s severe skills shortage, making the best use of available talent is essential.

Data from Sense-enabled meters can also be used to monitor malfunctions in transformers and other network assets by comparing meters experiencing the same anomaly with a map of the network. This will allow utilities to be proactive and transition to a more efficient, condition-based approach to maintenance.

According to Ipsos Climate Change Report 202283 percent of Australians across the country are concerned about climate change, an increase in concern from 56 percent in 2011, which is partly influenced by more frequent and extreme natural disasters in recent years.

The tools to reduce Australia’s carbon footprint are now available and it’s time to put them in the hands of network owners and managers. Decisions made today will shape the Australia of tomorrow.

This Sponsored Editorial is brought to you by Sense. For more information on Sense products and to understand your energy needs, please visit https://sense.com.

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