Energy data as a service: Microgrids and marketplaces feature in round-up of the progress being made on our project portfolio
Wattwatchers is regularly found ‘inside’ important research and demonstration projects aimed at solutions for the energy transition. Sometimes we lead, other times we’re an active support partner, and we also can take a back seat as preferred monitoring technology. Whatever, we’re typically in the mix when projects need near real-time, highly-granular, readily-accessible electricity data. If you need data for your project please get in touch.
My Energy Marketplace. MyTown Microgrid Heyfield. Fairwater Living Lab Residential Heat Pump Study. Byron Light Industrial Estate Microgrid Study. Enhanced Reliability Through Short Time Resolution Data Project. Mirvac House With No Bills. iHub for Affordable Heating and Cooling. Mainstreaming Low Carbon Retrofits in Social Housing. Solar Apartments.
Below are just some of the current or completed projects where Wattwatchers-made devices and our data streams play a valuable role.
Projects led by Wattwatchers
Through the major projects Wattwatchers leads, we’re helping to create new energy data resources and methodologies that will assist both research and commercial innovation for years to come. In particular:
My Energy Marketplace (MEM) – with $2.7 million in grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)*, Wattwatchers is leading the development of an Australia-wide energy ‘data lake’ that is planned to reach at least 5000 residential and small business sites, plus 250 schools by the end of the 2023 financial year. Key learning areas being targeted though the MEM include consumer data rights (privacy, security, access and sharing), cybersecurity, and portability of data to support multiple service offerings via the ‘marketplace’. The Wattwatchers team has begun scoping data gathering and sharing opportunities (data-as-a-service) with researchers, government agencies and commercial operators, and we welcome inquiries. See the ARENA project page.
MyTown Microgrid Heyfield – Working closely with the Heyfield Community Resource Centre (HCRC) and the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, and with grant support from the Australian Government (Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund – Microgrid Program) and Victoria’s Latrobe Valley Authority, the historic East Gippsland timber town of Heyfield is becoming an ‘energy data town’. Wattwatchers monitoring is being deployed to about 100 homes out of approximately 700 in the town, around 15 businesses, and two schools. Local participants are still being recruited, and community members are deeply engaged in the three-year feasibility study for a microgrid or other local energy solution. Outputs from the project will include a decision-support tool for other communities to use, drawing learning from the data-led process in Heyfield. In May 2021, the HCRC hosted a community vision workshop (click through to page 4 of the Heyfield News, Issue No. 111).
New reports published for current projects
Byron Light Industrial Estate Microgrid Study
This report summarises the financial outcomes for the 23 participants of the Microgrid when a novel ‘Microgrid Tariff’ is applied to their current electricity usage over a 6-month period, from March to August 2020. Led by community retailer Enova Energy, the project partners also include Essential Energy, UNSW and Wattwatchers for site monitoring and data feeds. Wattwatchers devices are installed at all participating sites, with data made available to the UNSW modellers via our REST API. See the Enova Energy_Microgrid Report_May 2021 and executive overview Enova Energy_Microgrid Report_Overview – May 2021.
Fairwater Living Lab Residential Heat Pump Study
Opened in 2016, Fairwater was heralded as one of the country’s most progressive, environmentally-friendly community developments: 800 homes set in a landscape including wetlands, and with the largest geothermal heating and cooling system in the southern hemisphere. The project’s analysis draws on detailed monitoring of energy (Wattwatchers for electricity) and environmental conditions and occupant studies in 40 recruited individual households as well as aggregate and precinct level data for network demand, environmental parameters and urban heat. See the website, the project overview, and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Milestone 3 report to ARENA.
The Innovation Hub (iHub) for Affordable Heating and Cooling
The Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling (i-Hub) is an initiative led by the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) in conjunction with CSIRO, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the University of Melbourne and the University of Wollongong and supported by Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to facilitate the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) industry’s transition to a low emissions future, stimulate jobs growth, and showcase HVAC&R innovation in buildings. Researchers from the University of Wollongong have led the deployment of Wattwatchers monitoring in high-density configurations at two school sites, one in the ACT and one in NSW. See the iHub website and the ARENA project page.
Mainstreaming Low Carbon Retrofits in Social Housing
This two-year project provided real world evaluation of a range of energy efficiency upgrades undertaken in Social Housing properties around NSW, considering changes in energy consumption, thermal conditions, and tenant perceptions of the upgrade. Over 50 sites were installed with Wattwatchers monitoring, coordinated by the University of Wollongong and its Sustainable Building Research Centre (SBRC). See more about the project and access the final report here. Also see the Guide to Implementing Low Carbon Retrofits for Social Housing.
‘We had a few teething issues related to training of the electricians… but the device performance was great.’ – Daniel Daly, Research Fellow, Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC), University of Wollongong
Enhanced Reliability Through Short Time Resolution Data Project
Increased penetration of distributed energy resources (DER) are leaving power system operations vulnerable to the operating behaviour of a multitude of diverse, distributed generators. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) identified a need for short time resolution data around voltage disturbances to understand DER behaviour and improve dynamic modelling. In this project, Solar Analytics worked with AEMO (customer) and Wattwatchers (hardware/firmware) to develop automated data acquisition and delivery. The project aims to increase visibility and improve modelling capability in a world-first analysis of individual load and generator responses in the event of short time resolution voltage disturbances. The project was completed in April 2021, with final reports still to be released by ARENA.
Mirvac House With No Bills
Among several new-build residential demonstrations, Wattwatchers was added to the technology suite for Mirvac’s affordable-and sustainable-living pilot site, known as the ‘House with No Bills’. Located at Mirvac’s $130 million Jack Road development in the Melbourne-suburb of Cheltenham, the ‘House with No Bills’ opened to its first-ever family in May 2018. The Zimmermans – police officer Rob, 39, nursing student, Lisa, 36 and their two teenage children, Cam, 16 and Alyssa, 15 – are living rent-free in Mirvac’s prototype energy-efficient home, without the typical 21st century stress of soaring power bills. See Mirvac’s website for the now completed project.
Although Australia has over 2 million solar households, the 10% of Australians who live in apartments are still missing out on cheap, clean energy and the country is losing an estimated 3-4 Gigawatts of potential solar generation. Wattwatchers devices were installed at several Sydney apartment buildings to monitor both common property and individual apartment loads, assisting the researchers to evaluate solar potential. See the final report and our blog post.
The My Energy Marketplace project is receiving funding from ARENA as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program. The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Australian Government, and the Australian Government does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.