New energy management foresights for electric vehicles and renewable energy

Monash University

A new report led by Monash University researchers reveals new foresights for energy management in Australian households, including keenness to switch to electric vehicles, better battery charging infrastructure and sharing renewable energy.

Launched today, the Digital Energy Futures: Foresights for Future Living report from the Emerging Technologies Research Lab (ETLab) at Monash University reframes current assumptions held by the energy industry about how people do, or will, interact with energy and technology.

The report also presents key foresights into what Australians want in the immediate future for better adoption of electric vehicles and battery charging, energy needs associated with cleaner air technologies and in the long-term foresights into changing energy needs to match a changing climate.

Lead author and ETLab Director Professor Sarah Pink said the energy sector has to rethink and adapt new practices to support the changing behaviour of consumers.

“There are many new opportunities for energy companies to reevaluate energy management in alignment with how Australian households are consuming energy and contributing to the energy grid,” Professor Pink said.

“Our research shows that there are changing needs within households with more expectations towards collaboration with the energy system, tailoring and customising technologies to individual energy needs and wanting a values-led social benefit approach to energy consumption.

“Especially with more Australians adapting and producing renewable energy in households, we have found that people are keen to contribute solar energy produced in households back to the grid and share it with other consumers,” research co-author Dr Hannah Korsmeyer said.

The research also shows, in the immediate future, there will be a significant switch to electric vehicles and households are looking for better energy infrastructure and battery charging facilities to support this changing need.

“Our foresights suggest that households will want fully charged vehicles every morning, electric vehicle ownership will likely be higher where there is better charging infrastructure, and future drivers will be more dependent on battery services and roadside assistance,” Professor Pink said.

“The foresights in our report will be an essential guide to shape the future of our energy systems. It is important that policymakers understand how people are likely to adopt electric vehicles. Building energy support and infrastructure which evenly supports diverse populations, in rural and urban communities alike will help to avoid inequalities in switching to electric vehicles,” Professor Pink added.

The report is informed by research conducted across 72 households in Victoria and New South Wales and supplemented by consumer survey data and analyses of energy and digital

technology industry reports.

This research is part of the landmark Digital Energy Futures project and expands on ETLab’s previous Future Home Life Report.

The Digital Energy Futures project is supported by the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects Funding Scheme in partnership with Monash University, Ausgrid, AusNet Services and Energy Consumers Australia.

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