In 2017, a major Queensland gas producer asked us to look at their ‘uncontrollable’ electricity cost. We were their last-ditch effort; internal options to solve the challenge through better contracting and/or financial hedging had been exhausted.
As a group of aerospace systems engineers from defence, this looked like an operational systems control challenge for the asset managers, not an energy purchasing challenge. We showed that with better situational awareness and trusted decision support, significant cost savings could be achieved.
We soon realised that this concept was applicable to the energy transition. It seems that everyone else is looking to solve this challenge by more, or better, renewable generation or storage technologies. Industry is not being asked to change. But we are changing how we generate electricity, so we need to change how we use it.
Decisions about electricity use are largely made in industrial control rooms around the world so this is where the change must be centred. If we cannot introduce flexible production, the energy transition will be impossible. But if we can introduce confidence and flexibility into industrial operations, we can reduce the cost of energy and production, increase productivity, and speed the transition to a renewables powered world.
We call this Renewables Ready. An energy consumer, large or small, that can make confident decisions, synchronised with the availability of renewable energy, is Renewables Ready.