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Aust Agency Launches Citizen Portal for Energy Forecasting
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Friday, November 09, 2012
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: Australia
Created: Nov 12, 2012

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has launched a new web portal to help citizens track energy supply and demand in an interactive on-line environment.

This eFuture portal, launched 9th November 2012, offers real-time modelling and forecasting tools for “time travellers” seeking a better grasp of energy supply and demand through to 2050.

CSIRO’s more complex modelling software has been modified into 1,000 “scenarios options” for on-line internet users. These options enable non-technical users to explore current and future electricity costs.

They can also track emerging technologies and carbon emissions in real-time using pre-set analysis, forecasting and modelling tools.

Dr Alex Wonhas, Director, CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship, says Australia will undergo a huge transformation in the energy sector in coming decades. This transformation is led by a greater number and more diverse mix of electricity sources powering homes, businesses and industry.

“eFuture helps us to understand just some of possible pathways before us and what it could mean for technology development, the economy and the environment,” Dr Wonhas notes.

Among the features, end users can select options and instantly view charts that track changes to future electricity sources, greenhouse gas emissions and the fluctuating cost of electricity.

Interactive scenarios help model, analyse, and forecast technology costs, supply and demand, and just how personal choices will impact on energy security.

On-line users are prompted to make choices on electricity demand, fuel price and technology type and see how these impact future supply and demand.

These eFuture tools offer a snapshot of CSIRO’s more complex modelling research. This research is used by government agencies and industry to make informed decisions about energy investment and policy. This initiative consolidates extensive data about Australia’s energy sector in a readily-accessible and interactive format.

Paul Graham, Theme Leader, Carbon Futures, CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship, says this citizen engagement initiative draws on CSIRO’s long-standing energy sector modelling expertise.

“We are making these tools available for citizens,” Graham says. “They can now access modelling software on-line, while gaining a better appreciation of future energy needs.”

“We need to be able communicate our energy modelling research more widely,” Graham says. “There is a built-in feedback loop, so that we can modify the modules, as and when needed.”

The eFuture modelling software draws on CSIRO’s modelling software that was developed for electricity and transport systems. The agency has spent US$40,000 (AUD$40,000) to tailor its modelling capability for widespread use on the internet. This offers access to more precise modelling and problem-solving in an interactive setting.

In March 2012, CSIRO also launched its Future Grid project. This initiative consolidates nationwide energy data, while sharing world-class modelling tools with power generators, transmitters, distributors and retailers.
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