As New Zealand energy company Meridian eyes the exit from the policy-addled Australian renewable energy market, its software subsidiary, Flux Federation, has issued a vote of confidence in the electric vehicle sector, where it believes its “energy tech 3.0” will help drive new momentum.
The company is developing advanced energy billing software capable of supporting potentially unlimited consumer energy technologies, ranging from electric vehicles, to rooftop solar, to household batteries, smart homes and vehicle-to-grid platforms.
The billing platform is in production in New Zealand, with the company in initial talks with Australian energy retailers.
Jessica Venning-Bryan, Flux Federation’s chief client officer, told RenewEconomy this week that the software could be needed in the “very, very near future” in Australia, where she believes there has been a turning point in EV adoption.
Venning-Bryan said Flux Federation’s software could be the key to unlocking mass adoption of electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technologies, thanks to its flexibility around changing tariffs, multiple technologies and dynamic pricing and timing.
“In this new era of energy, you have multiple parties participating, multiple products being bought and sold, and you have multiple price points for those products,” she said.
Vehicle-to-grid, or V2G, is an emerging concept where electric vehicle batteries are used to store and provide electricity and other security or reliability services back to the power grid.
V2G programs are currently being trialled in the Australian Capital Territory with support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. A fleet of 51 Nissan Leafs are providing “batteries on wheels”, discharging electricity back to the grid or providing grid security services.
CSIRO has predicted vehicle-to-grid could be taken up by between 12 to 35 per cent of customers by 2050, depending on the speed of decarbonisation.
Flux Federation is working in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom – all countries with largely deregulated energy markets, but with very different contexts for geography, policy and technology uptake such as the higher share of electric vehicles in New Zealand compared to more rooftop solar in Australia.
Petra Stock is a Master of Journalism student who has worked in climate change, renewable energy and transport. She also works part-time in climate change for the Australian Conservation Foundation.