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Digital Energy Futures

AusNet Services, your electricity distributor, has embarked on a landmark research project led by Monash University and in partnership with Energy Consumers Australia and Ausgrid, called Digital Energy Futures.

A first of its kind, the Digital Energy Futures project aims to better understand how emerging technologies are shaping the way people live, particularly when it comes to electricity usage.

On 26 June 2020, the project reached its first key milestone with the release of a report by the Emerging Technologies Research Lab reviewing key industry reports to reveal how our futures have been imagined and the limitations of these visions. The research systematically brings together digital tech and energy industry trends for the first time, to reveal how they influence one another across a number of everyday household activities, such as working and studying from home.  
"This first stage of the project has played a crucial role in revealing how digital technology trends, such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, or Virtual Reality, are likely to complement and disrupt energy sector visions for increased distributed energy resources (such as residential solar PV and battery storage), automated appliances, and electric vehicles. Understanding these co-evolving industries and their anticipated futures is absolutely essential to develop more accurate forecasts for residential energy demand in Australia,” explained project lead, Associate Professor Yolande Strengers. 

The findings from the analysis were synthesised into six speculative future scenarios that show how dominant industry visions could impact on the home. These scenarios focus on the anticipated technology and energy trends likely to affect household electricity demand in the future, should dominant industry predictions come true.  

The scenarios are: 

  1. Cool and Comfortable in Extreme Weather 
  2. Stay at Home Life 
  3. Ageing at Home 
  4. The Smart and Easy Life 
  5. The Smart Charging Commuter 
  6. The Set and Forget Prosumer

Click here for a copy of the report, exec summary and detailed scenario. 

During the next stage of this project, researchers will present these industry scenarios to a diverse set of households, including AusNet Services’ customers, to understand how they see their lives changing in relation to them, or in other ways not currently represented by the industry visions.