The CSIRO has significantly bolstered the scope and ambition of its energy consumption data collection and analysis work with the launch on Thursday of a new research program being conducted in conjunction with the Australian Energy Market Operator.
The National Energy Analytics and Research (NEAR) program replaces the agencies energy use and data model, and broadens data collection beyond just electricity consumption in residential markets to include a cross section of other energy types, as well as its commercial and industrial consumption.
CSIRO project leader Dr Adam Berry said the NEAR program would provide comprehensive data to underpin investment decision-making around energy investment, whether in generation, distribution or consumption.
The program is funded by the federal departments of environment and energy, and delivered by CSIRO with AEMO to Program collect, integrate and enhance information about Australia’s energy use.
“The NEAR program is really an increase in the ambition and scope of what the Energy Use and Data Model was,” Dr Berry said. “Most of the work we have done with the EUDM has been focused on the residential space and on electricity.”
“With the departments of Energy and Environment and the energy market operator we realised that there was a real need for better data and better research that covered not only residential and electricity, but also gas use and the impact of commercial and industrial use and things like that,” he said.
“In times of rapid change in the energy sector, we need rich data to plan for the energy system of tomorrow,” said Dr Berry.
“This is particularly true in summer when the Australian energy system is most under strain due to high consumer demand and the increased likelihood of extreme weather events,”
“Major investments in our energy system depend on accurate, long-term forecasting, and NEAR Program data and research can support dramatic improvements in the way we do this”.
NEAR Program research had already contributed data to the ACCC’s Retail Electricity Prices Inquiry, quantifying the impact of tariff structures on electricity costs for Australian households.
CSIRO and partners will work with government, regulators, operators and distributors to drive data innovation needed by industry, researchers and policy makers to secure the best energy future possible for Australia.