futurEnergy is an online portal that provides an energy system model for Australia. futurEnergy will allow users to develop their own version of Australia's future energy system. The portal lets users include considerations of changing technology types and locations to test different options. The application will be optimised for smart phone, tablet and computer and can be accessed as either an educational or professional version. An exciting innovation offered by the tool is that it allows people without a technical modelling background the opportunity to perform complex future energy system scenario planning. The futurEnergy project is a collaborative initiative between GE and the University of Melbourne.
futurEnergy users can create new generation infrastructure for the transition from the present infrastructure system out to 2050 in 10-year increments. Users will be able to run simulations of their design to compete against each other based on efficiency, effectiveness, cost and carbon intensity. The total cost of different technology combinations can be compared, as can the reliability and emissions intensity of system type.
The underlying model driving the simulations is already being developed through an ARENA measure grant to the University of Melbourne and University of New South Wales. futurEnergy will adapt this model and develop it further to suit the needs of the online tool.
The "alpha" version of the portal has been produced by GE and the University of Melbourne and is currently available online. Additional funding will allow for completion of the development so that the system can be made nation-wide and include comprehensive technology options, plus transmission and economic models.
In addition to the operating online system, the 12 month project will include a promotional campaign, international industry engagement plan and national training forum. A sustainable business model for ensuring the continuation of the system beyond current project timelines will also be developed.