Dr Jones’ key message to Australian clean energy companies is to avoid trying to define ‘what a smart grid is’ to members of the general population who are struggling to come to terms with its meaning. Instead, he says, focus on the benefits of modernising the grid overall using smarter technologies, and the benefits of these for consumers and different energy sectors.
Dr Jones believes the Australian energy industry has already taken a lead in implementing smart technology and increasing market management and efficiency.
“On the distribution side, you see more and more technologies for demand response being brought to bear in Australia,” he says.
“Where I think more could be done is being aware that all of the technologies we are deploying will generate a lot of data. How do you leverage all of this data? This is one area where Australia and other countries need really advanced business analytics to be able to process and mine the data to extract information.
“One of the concerns utilities have – especially in the operation of the grid – is that there’s a deluge of data coming in. Unless you can make sense of the data, it’s pretty much a bad investment.”
Dr Jones points to investment in data management tools and advanced application systems as key solutions, and predicts that over the next five to ten years, Australian grids will have high variability as a result of electric vehicle integration, increased renewables and demand response on the consumer side of operations.