RACE for Homes

Developing and applying new energy technologies and solutions for consumers

Theme H1: Residential solar pre-cooling 

Theme Summary

Assess the practical potential and undertake pilot projects for shifting residential air conditioning load to tap surplus rooftop solar output earlier in the day on very hot days. This requires remote intelligent monitoring and control and reasonable thermal inertia of homes (see Theme E2). 

What’s the Industry Problem?

Residential air conditioning contributes about 30% of national electricity peak demand.  Cost effective options to shift this load to earlier in the day can significantly reduce peak demand and consumers’ energy bills, while also facilitating greater hosting capacity for rooftop solar panels. 

Expected Impact

Residential A/C contributes about 10,000 MW to peak demand in the grid.
Reducing this by 1,000MW could avoid more than $2 billion in generation and network infrastructure costs. Other benefits would include reducing consumers' costs, improving home comfort, reducing carbon emissions, increasing network solar hosting capacity and enhancing grid resilience.

Theme H2: Enhancing home thermal inertia

Theme Summary

Assessing technologies and policy instruments to improve the energy efficiency and thermal inertia of homes,  with a focus on low cost solutions for existing homes, particularly for rental properties. 
Assessing these technology and policy options against other forms of generation firming, such as battery storage, pumped hydro and gas fired generation. 
Applying this assessment to practical trials and pilots.  

What’s the Industry Problem?

Heating and cooling accounts on average for 40% of household energy use and approximately 19% of electricity use. Home heating and cooling is generally the biggest driver of adverse equity outcomes for vulnerable energy consumers and also the biggest source of volatility in electricity demand. Thermally "leaky" homes are also a big driver of morbidity and mortality in Australia. 
Improving home thermal inertia (reducing heat loss and gain) has great potential to reduce household energy bills, both directly and through reducing infrastructure costs, and therefore electricity prices.
 

Expected Impact

Clear understanding of the relative viability of improving home energy efficiency and thermal inertia as a form of energy storage and firming capacity.
This has the potential to deliver billions of dollars in savings to residential and other energy customers, while also improving comfort, health outcomes, social equity and reducing carbon emissions.

Theme H3: Using home energy technologies for grid support

Theme Summary

This Theme will address current energy supply industry practice and home energy technology standards to facilitate smarter energy use, particularly for load shifting, dynamic export limits, provision of reactive power and voltage support.

What’s the Industry Problem?

Current standards for home energy technologies, including inverters, air conditioners, water heaters and EV chargers do not facilitate smart energy use, particularly for load shifting, dynamic export limits, provision of reactive power and voltage support.

Expected Impact

Much easier access to load management, greater utilization of solar panels, more self-consumption of solar energy from PV panels and reduced solar output curtailment.

Theme H4: Rewarding flexible demand: Customer-friendly cost reflective tariffs and incentives

Theme Summary

This Theme will develop and demonstrate innovative flexible and dynamic pricing to customers  to encourage load management to reduce costs.  Through trials, regulatory sandpits, testing and customer research, accelerate roll out of dynamic and more cost reflective pricing and control systems. Develop business case for accelerated voluntary adoption of smart meters, driven by attractive dynamic pricing and distributed energy resources (DER).

What’s the Industry Problem?

Very large untapped potential of flexible pricing to cut average electricity prices and bills has long been recognised, but only minimally tapped. The residential sector has highly variable demand.  Meanwhile, generation output is increasingly variable due to the rise of solar and wind power.  Nevertheless, flat tariffs are still the most common pricing approach for Australian households. A rapid shift to more flexible and dynamic tariffs is required.

Expected Impact

Improved cost reflective pricing, including reducing barriers to smart meter deployment and other supporting strategies to enable cost-reflective pricing. Improved peak load management, reduced costs and improved reliability.  
Based on accelerated adopted of flexible pricing by 10% of homes, and a dynamic price elasticity of -0.2, this Theme could facilitate electricity cost savings of more than $250M pa by 2030. 

Theme H5: Smart algorithms for optimising home energy supply and use

Theme Summary

Collaborating with customers, energy tech start ups and energy utilities to identify opportunities for useful algorithms and apps for reducing costs for householders in their homes and for the energy system as a whole. Implementing real world trials of such algorithms and apps.
This should also include mapping a path for optimising the use of resources like Energy Made Easy and Consumer Data Right (CDR) for the benefit of customers.
 

What’s the Industry Problem?

The rise of distributed energy resources (DERs – especially PVs, battery storage and smart energy management) in homes creates new challenges and opportunities. 
A least cost approach to optimising the whole energy system requires optimising the control of residential DER. However, this cannot be directly controlled by the central system operator.

Expected Impact

Developing smart algorithms (and related apps) has the potential to unlock thousands of megawatts of flexible residential demand (and efficiency) in space heating and cooling, water heating, pool pumps, and battery and EV charging. 
This is likely to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars per annum in energy bill savings, while facilitating greater penetration of variable renewable energy generation and healthier, more comfortable homes.

© RACE for 2030 CRC