Australia’s King Island smart grid has at its heart a sophisticated energy management system that has enabled sustained 100% renewable energy penetration. [Engerati- Grid Integration Of Renewables – Five Top Projects]
This system, which was developed by the national research body CSIRO, has been adapted into a home energy monitoring and management system, named Eddy. And Eddy is now being commercialized by the Australian company HabiDapt, which is trialling it in Perth and with Ergon Energy Retail in regional Queensland.
An energy management tool
The technology behind Eddy is a sophisticated cloud-based software platform that delivers energy services via a simple online dashboard. Through a smart meter and switches installed in the home, Eddy keeps track of electricity use, collects and analyzes the data and provides reports and energy saving recommendations to users, as well as allows users to remotely control major appliances such as air conditioners, hot water systems and pool pumps.
In the near future this control will also be extended to individual appliances via meters and switches that can be plugged into the power sockets in walls.
“Eddy is a powerful tool that can be used by households to reduce their electricity bills,” HabiDapt CEO Stephen Kubicki, told Engerati in an exclusive interview.
Examples of new benefits that Eddy will unlock Kubicki cites include programming appliances such as pool pumps to make optimum use of electricity generated by a home rooftop solar PV system or to respond to changes in tariffs, and energy bill management via alerts to preset thresholds.
In addition, Eddy is able to deliver services such as customer engagement and demand management to electricity companies.
Eddy on trial
The pilot with Ergon Energy involves approximately 100 homes in the city of Townsville, where it is branded as ‘HomeSmart’.
The technology is being rolled out until September 2015. Thereafter Ergon Energy – which is also investigating a similar energy management product for business customers – will assess customer feedback and results to determine if the product provides value to customers and can be rolled out widely.
In addition to trialling the customer experience with Eddy, Ergon Energy is also undertaking remote appliance switching with the system during the pilot.
Kubicki says that the extent of the savings that households might achieve will depend on the household and how Eddy is used.
“We are still working with households to understand and quantify the full extent of the benefits that Eddy can unlock.”
Energy management services for Australians
Kubicki says the software platform behind Eddy is highly modular, so that new services and functions can be added over time. In the longer term, the aim is to integrate Eddy with other home control functions, although that is not a priority with the current focus on delivering energy management services.
“Although Eddy has been developed over a period of more than 7 years, it is still at a relatively early stage,” states Kubicki. “Our current focus is to continue to work with the trial participants to refine and quantify the value proposition for households. We do, however, hope to make Eddy more widely available in Australia in the latter part of the year.”