Knowledge is power, or so the saying goes. But a new research project being conducted by the CSIRO is hoping to prove that shared knowledge can also lead to cheaper, more efficient and more reliable power, in a rapidly changing energy landscape.
The peak Australian science agency has on Tuesday launched its new CSIRO Energise app, with the goal of creating a “two-way communication channel” between its own team of energy experts and a broad range of consumers.
By using the app, the team is hoping that ‘citizen scientists’ will provide valuable data to improve understanding of the way households consume, generate and interact with energy.
This will be done through a range of ‘micro-surveys’ covering energy-usage patterns, appliances, and uptake of renewables, while also responding to users’ responses in real time, and asking questions in response to specific events.
“With CSIRO Energise we can ask important questions at critical points in time, for example in the wake of an extreme heatwave or unexpected blackout,” said Project Leader Dr Adam Berry, in comments on Tuesday.
“Getting this information quickly and from a broad sample of households means that we can quickly spot issues, and then start working on solutions.”
In return, app users will get access to energy insights, including tips for efficiency in the home, cutting-edge research updates, and short videos from scientists – helping consumers to regain control of their energy use and, ultimately, to cut their power bills.
The app is a key component of CSIRO’s Energy Use Data Model project, which is collating, centralising and enhancing various streams of energy data.
The overarching goal is to paint a clearer picture of contemporary energy use to guide research and to decision making by government and industry.
“We know the way Australians use energy is changing, but it’s important for us to know how quickly, and what’s driving that change,” said CSIRO Energy Director Dr Tim Finnigan.
“CSIRO Energise will help fill missing pieces of the puzzle with robust, objective data in areas where our knowledge is lacking,” he said.
“This will ensure that CSIRO can continue to drive the innovation that guides an affordable, sustainable and reliable energy system.”
Data collected through the app remains on Australian servers, features data encryption and is only accessible to authorised users. To learn more about the CSIRO’s Energy Use Data Model Project, click here.