Energy Innovation Series: Energy tips from the Australia’s top energy experts

June 27, 2022

Top tips for surviving, and then thriving, in the energy crisis, from Australia’s leading energy experts.

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The energy crisis and unprecedented take over of the market by AEMO has spun many customers into
panic, getting a glimpse of the fragility and lack of control we have over our energy supply. And let’s not
even talk about the anxiety that we all now feel when we receive our power bill in the mail!

Threats of black-outs and demands to not use dishwashers at certain times has led the customer to take
a closer look at, what a lot of them thought, was just an ‘on tap’ resource.

But for many customers, there is a bewildering array of options on what to do to make a difference and
many don’t understand that it is many small changes that will effect a big change.

To get some clear direction on things that could genuinely make a difference, the country’s top energy
experts were asked what would be the one piece of advice that they would give to customers and
businesses to help.

These professors and professionals will all be talking at Energy Next, a free-to-attend industry event
focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy management technologies, that is being held in
Sydney on the 19th-20th July 2022.

From solar tips to data management and heating the body rather than the room to fast-tracking EV
purchases, this is what they said:

Consumer Tip:

Home owners that have solar and batteries, and are using them optimally, are somewhat shielded from the big price fluctuations we are seeing. So now is a great time to be looking at whether solar and a battery will work for you, if you don’t already have it. Especially so given new, low-interest ‘green loan’ options that are coming onto the market. But having solar is only half of the battle. Optimising your use of that solar by aligning your usage with when your panels are generating, is critical.

Many solar systems only give you a small part of the picture ‘out of the box’ (e.g. how much you’re
generating). Knowing where your energy is being used, through energy monitoring across all your key circuits (like aircon, pool pumps, hot water, and EV charging), is critical to make the most of your investment.

Business Tip:

The adage “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” is more true than ever in the current circumstances. It can be a surprise to find that what you thought were your ‘big customers’
aren’t the worst (or only) culprits for high energy use. For some businesses, demand charges can also be
a killer—so knowing exactly what you’re using, in near-real-time, can be the difference between a
reasonable bill and a blow-out. And, of course, it’s not just about the direct costs of electricity—many
businesses are now having to report on their carbon emissions, and often electricity consumption is a
big contributor. In all of these cases, having solid energy monitoring in place is key.
Grace Young, Chief of Innovation, Wattwatchers.

Consumer Tip

Bite the bullet and invest in an Electric Vehicle. That sales guy that wants to shift his
inventory of petrol burners is not going to mention that EVs are incredibly cheap to run.

Business Tip

Measure, monitor and manage energy usage and the performance of your solar system.
What gets measured gets improved!
Matt Stubbs, Director, Profergy

Consumer and Business Tip

Data will be the primary determinant of energy investment returns and operational stability. Given the rapidly changing nature of energy models and interoperability requirements, one cannot pre-
determine which data will be most important in the future. Data requirements for asset owners, grid
operators, traders, regulators and analytics companies are vastly different and require different capture
methods, granularity and delivery mechanisms.

The logical approach is that asset owners take full control of their OT data by independently collecting,
normalising and consolidating all their OT data regardless of source. Cybersecurity and accessibility of
this OT data needs to be tightly managed, both inside and outside the organisation, to share with
experts, to integrate new business models and to drive innovation in machine learning, predictive
models and artificial intelligence.

A data-centric strategy is the critical foundation to optimise performance in this highly competitive and
rapidly changing sector.

Energy companies need to discard old operating models and embrace new OT data competencies.
Those that do not will be rapidly “disrupted” out of the industry.

Tim Lane, Ardexa, Senior VP Sales & Marketing Asia Pacific.

Consumer Tip

If you have solar PV, run your power hungry appliances (like washing machines, dishwashers) during the middle of the day. This will help reduce strain on the energy grid and reduce your carbon footprint – and if you have a time-of-use tariff (where the rates are cheaper in the middle of the day) it will also save you money.
Dr Scott Dwyer – Research Principal, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures

Customer tip

Stop heating the space using an aircon. Instead, use an electric blanket to “heat the body.”

Business tip

Working from home? In the longer-term, co-host the renewable generation capacity and storage for hydrogen production/export within the national electricity market.
Dr Chang Wang, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Monash University

Business Tip

Enosi would recommend that businesses pay attention to both their bottom line and
their ESG responsibilities as they contract for energy supply and manage their use.

Locking in a supply-linked PPA through your retail energy provider that is matched to renewable
sources will both capture the lower cost of renewable power, and support further investment in
renewables. This is known as a 24/7 PPA, and is becoming more popular among ESG leaders in the US
and Europe.

Matching consumption to when your supply is actually generated will put businesses on the path to ‘true
zero’ carbon, incentivising demand shift to when solar/wind are available, and the development of
resources that fill the gaps in renewable supply.
Steven Hoy, CEO, Enosi

Business and Consumer tip

My response for both is energy efficiency – replacing expensive-to-run items, which requires the support of government, landlords, industry etc. It’s not innovative or exciting but remains the first thing anyone should do.
Dr Kathryn Lucas-Healey, Research Fellow, Australian National University

Customer Tip

Put as much solar on your roof as you can fit ASAP. Then use Solar Analytics to find
an awesome electricity deal (hint it is likely to be a retailer who is well hedged or has generation).
Stefan Jarnason, CEO, Solar Analytics

Consumer tip

Install a heat pump for your hot water – that’s >40PJ of saving for Australia right there
(~60% of that would be gas). Just make sure you go for a quality name like Reclaim, Sanden or Steibel
Eltron, otherwise you’ll get a noisy heat pump that doesn’t do enough heating in winter. If you have
solar panels, make sure you can program the heat pump to come on during the day – that will double
your return on investment. If you don’t have panels, make sure you can program the heat pump to only
come on during off-peak electricity times.

Business tip

What can you do in one day? Good maintenance – fix steam leaks, compressed air leaks,
insulation damage etc. What can you do in one week? Get sub-metering installed for electricity, steam, gas and water – that will reveal waste, often fixed by simple behaviour changes (e.g. closing cool room
Jarrod Leak, CEO, Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP)

Consumer tip

Improve your self-sufficiency to rely less on the energy system to meet your demands
by reducing your overall demand, switch to solar energy during the day and complement your solar with
a battery system for peak demand times or night-time or when the grid is down.
Adrian Knack, Director of Engineering, Redback Technologies

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