Unfortunately no time for a “Best Peak Demand Forecaster” competition for summer 2017-18

I’ve returned from a week away and am currently trying to wade through emails to ensure the “working week” is as productive as possible.  Amongst the emails were a number of questions asking whether we’d be running (what used to be) our regular “Best Peak Demand Forecaster” competition for summer 2017-18.

(A)  Unfortunately no time to run the competition for summer 2017-18

The short answer to that question is, unfortunately, NO.

Given the diverse range of clients we serve in this multi-faceted energy transition, of which summer and Q1 are very critical periods, we need to be fully focused on the job at hand over this period.  We just don’t have time to run a competition on the side, unfortunately.

(B)  The nature of demand is changing – making a singular focus less meaningful

I do hope, for some summer in future, we will be able to re-start the competition process.

When that occasion arises, we will need to think through some aspects of how the electricity supply sector is changing, in order to ensure that the target of the competition remains relevant.  When we first ran the competition (for summer 2005-06 I think) the NEM was much “simpler” than it is today – with demand (and in particular peak demand) being clearly the dominant driver of new infrastructure development, and hence cost.  It was the case back then that “Scheduled Demand” was a very good proxy for consumption (or “Native Demand”).

Neither are so much the case now, in this new world we’re all transitioning to in the energy sector – i.e.:
1)  The rate of consumption of energy in electricity at a given point in time (measured in MW) is increasingly very different from the rate of “Scheduled Demand” that the AEMO has to dispatch generators to meet.
2)  Because of this, and other factors, peak demand has lost its singular dominance as the main driver of infrastructure development – and hence cost.

Given these changes, when we do find the time to revisit and restart our competition, we’ll need to give some thought to the right metric to target.

(C)  What you might do, to keep an eye on demand this summer

As a software company that focuses on “making complexity understandable – so people can make better decisions”, we have developed a number of different representations of electricity demand (and/or consumption) over the years.

Some of these are accessible by anyone at no cost – such as these two highlighted here:

C1)  The “RenewEconomy Widget”

Our first widget was first released in 2015 and has been progressively enhanced since that time.  We’re currently in the midst of a major upgrade (i.e. re-write) to ensure visibility of both sides of the battery equation.

We’ve done this given the general popularity of the Tesla/Neoen “biggest battery in the world”, but also to provide visibility of other types of batteries that have long been operational in the Australian electricity supply sector, as shown in this annotated image of the new widget here:


As noted on the image, you can currently access the widget here on the NEMwatch portal here – but it will (when finalised) be rolled out to its main location on RenewEconomy here, and then on a variety of third party websites across the internet (i.e. where people have followed instructions to embed).

No charge to view the widget and gain benefit in that way, and also no charge for third parties to embed on their own website (thanks to our sponsor).

C2)  The “ECA Widget”

To follow on from the RenewEconomy, we were also please to work with Energy Consumer’s Australia, who sponsored their own widget designed specifically to highlight the way in which weather patterns (primarily temperature) have a significant level of influence on the amount of electricity consumed in a particular location:


As noted on the image, you can access the widget here on the ECA website – but it is also available on a growing number of third party websites (and here on the NEMwatch portal).

No charge to embed this one, also – thanks to our sponsor!

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

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