Zen Ecosystems has received a major grant by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to help secure Australia’s energy supplies during times of peak demand.
In total, 8 companies will share in the Australian Government backed $35.7 million initiative to deliver 200 megawatts (MW) of capacity by 2020, with at least 143 MW to be available for this upcoming summer.
Unlike the other companies involved, which include energy retailers and poles and wires giants, Zen Ecosystems will roll out its smart Zen Thermostats and innovative Zen HQ platform to aggregate and control heating and cooling of predominantly multi-site commercial buildings.
ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht explained, “Demand response will not only ease the strain on the electricity grid and prevent blackouts. These projects will also put money back into the pockets of Australian businesses and households, helping to reduce their energy costs and emissions,” he said.
Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Chief Executive Officer Audrey Zibelman said, “These demand response projects will help manage spikes in peak demand in a cost effective way using our existing electricity infrastructure and clever new technology. It is clear that demand response has untapped potential to manage demand during extreme peaks in Australia, just as it does in other countries.”
The Zen Ecosystems solution targets heating and cooling which is the largest drain on electricity in most homes and businesses. Commercial customers simply replace their existing thermostats with Zen Thermostats and then access the Zen HQ cloud-software solution. In addition to participating in demand response programs, Zen HQ has the added benefit of allowing businesses to receive significant energy savings throughout the year as a result of the energy waste reduction features such as scheduling and lockout.
“You might find that a retail business has 50 locations across the country that are all using their air conditioners more than they need to or when the business is shut. Zen HQ provides visibility and control across all these sites to save energy and save money,” Michael Joffe from Zen Ecosystems says.
Zen Ecosystem’s technology has been extremely successful in the USA market and has shown energy savings of between 10 and 30 per cent, with a customer base including large commercial operators such as a huge retail chain, a market leader in the hotels industry and a leading fast-food retailer.