How AI Is Helping Build A Green Future For Australia
You have probably heard about Australia’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, as well as the other milestones we will need to achieve to make it happen. Most recently, the national goal for 2030 has been upgraded to a 43% drop in emissions from peak 2005 levels. While this is undoubtedly good news for the health of our people and our planet, is Australia ready for the shift to renewable energy?
Here’s how technology like artificial intelligence (AI) is being harnessed to create Australia’s renewable future.
The current state of renewables in Australia
Considering Australia’s commitment to a low-carbon future, energy in this country is in an understandable state of flux. While it’s encouraging looking at the latest Clean Energy Report, which showed that in 2021, 32.5% of the country’s total energy generation came from renewable sources, we still have a long way to go.
There are some glimmers of hope, though. Down in Tasmania, the state currently runs on 100% renewable energy. And for a brief period in August, solar power overtook coal as the country’s number one power source.
To help achieve Australia’s net-zero goal, a multi-pronged approach has been taken: The Large Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and the Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). With a focus on big business, the LRET will require high-energy users to get a fixed amount of their electricity from renewable sources like large-scale solar and wind farms.
The SRES, which has been operating effectively for a number of years now, rewards home and business owners with incentives for installing renewable energy devices, like rooftop solar panels and solar hot water systems.
The renewable future
So what does the future hold for renewables in Australia, and how will we get there?
While our country is lucky in our ability to pivot to renewable energy relatively quickly, thanks to abundant natural power sources, the rapid switch to a low-carbon economy is not without hurdles. One of these is accurately measuring and predicting energy demand from homes and businesses to ensure a balanced energy grid as we transition away from fossil fuels. The biggest opportunity to manage this is through AI and machine learning.
Through its ability to process and analyse huge sets of data—like the energy usage habits of cities, states, and the entire country—this technology has the potential to make the transition to renewables smoother and help prevent outages or overloading of the energy grid.
While many of the algorithms needed to predict average energy usage already exist, there is the potential to improve these to include hyper-local and seasonal variances due to weather and consumer behaviour.
And as more and more renewable energy sources come online, there is a tremendous opportunity for the technology to help with how our energy is distributed to ensure the most reliable energy network as Australia transitions into a green future.
How technology is helping households make a difference now
Reducing greenhouse gases by improving energy efficiency in Australian households has been supported by the Victorian Energy Upgrades program (VEU) and Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) in NSW. Both programs provide incentives to install energy-efficient improvements encouraging consumers to reduce their long-term energy consumption. If you live in Victoria, the Emerald Electricity Advisor is free under the VEU program helping thousands of Victorians reduce their energy costs and greenhouse emissions.
In conjunction with behavioural changes and insights gained from data measured from Emerald’s Electricity Advisor and Emerald EMS App, households can save 10% off their electricity or more. With over 265 thousand users, our community has collectively saved over 37 Million dollars in electricity savings and 516 Thousand Tonnes of greenhouse gas reduction a year.*