Happy New Year!
Another year has rushed past, and we’ve invested some quiet time before 2023 ramps up in busyness to reflect on the year that’s gone past (our 23rd year of operations).
Over those 23 years since the company was formed at the start of 2000 we’ve been consistent striving to make the energy market more understandable:
(a) Through the range of different software-based services we’ve developed (directly, and in collaboration with others); and
(b) via investment in other service providers that help energy market participants in other ways.
We do this with the intent that clients can make their own decisions, relevant to their own circumstances.
Over these 23 years our client base (and the ways that we serve) has continued to grow and change – but we’ve always strived to remain consistent with our core Mission. You might find this summary useful in understanding some of our highlights from the 2022 calendar year.
(A) 2022 was an eventful year for us (and in the NEM!)
The start of 2022 seems like a lifetime ago, such has been the many and varied events that have challenged us through the year.
One of these was the return (in March 2022) of the flooding in Brisbane that affected many people in the city where many of our team live – our office was without power for about a week, as were some of our employees who live in flood-affected suburbs.
1) Thankfully this time (unlike in 2011) none of our team members were flooded themselves directly … though we did have family members and friends affected.
2) From an operations point of view, we were pleased to see our operations continue seamlessly:
(a) Clients did not experience any disruption; and
(b) The (NEM-wide) distributed working model provided an added benefit:
i. This was initiated in 2020 with our first employees based outside of Brisbane (and with the first COVID lockdowns in March 2020 providing an added driver);
ii. The growth of our team outside of Brisbane since the start of 2020 has been one of a number of drivers helping us continue to refine and improve this distributed working model
3) As Dan wrote in March, this was an opportunity to further improve ‘… our organisation resilience through two Brisbane floods’.
… but let’s hope that we don’t get another real challenge to test these types of things anytime soon.
With lockdowns a thing of the past, but COVID still very much a factor across Australia, this year saw a number of team members affected at various points in time (I’ve not checked but my sense is that COVID has meant the past three years have seen easily the biggest Sick Leave drain on our operations). Again our distributed operations helped us in ensuring we were resilient through these challenges.
Also in 2022 we said farewell to Marcelle Gannon (who’d come to us from an operational role within the NEM at Tilt Renewables and has now returned to an operational role at Atmos Renewables).
We appreciated the efforts Marcelle made in extending our capability, and look forward to continuing to work with Marcelle into the future (albeit in a different role). You can read Marcelle’s previous articles on WattClarity here.
Not long after that Marcelle left, we welcomed another MG to our software team – not a like-for-like replacement, with Marc Galbraith (also Melbourne based) bringing his own skill set for our benefit, and that of our clients.
We also modified some of software development process in the ongoing evolution of a method that works with us whilst follows some of the principles we’ve been striving towards for 23 years, including as espoused in the Agile Manifesto.
(B) Reflections on the NEM in 2022, as seen through WattClarity ®
The 2022 calendar year was an eventful one from the perspective of the NEM … which meant it was also eventful with respect to our WattClarity industry commentary site. To sum up the crazy year that it was, Dan Lee shared his ‘Reflections on [the energy market through] 2022 via WattClarity’ on this site on 22nd December :
We’d appreciate hearing from our readers how this summary helps in reflecting on the high points (and low points) of the NEM through 2022?
(C) Our software continues to evolve
Over the 23 years we’ve been operating, our product suite has continued to evolve … all the time striving to deliver on our Mission of ‘making complexity understandable’ (albeit in an increasingly complicated NEM!).
(C1) ez2viewTM (release of v9.4 and v9.5)
The 2022 year saw many enhancements made to our ez2view software following on from our almost continuous development process, and a number of new clients joining our expanding client base as well.
In April we released v9.4 of ez2view which introduced three brand new widgets along with other enhancements to existing functionality – and we followed this up in October with the release of v9.5:
This v9.5 upgrade included the new ‘Constraints Dashboard’ widget as a headline feature addition – one that is already prompting many compliments from clients:
That’s not all that was new in v9.5 – and we’re already rolling in other new functionality beyond what’s discussed in that Release Note to cater for the ongoing evolution of the NEM.
Our NEMreview v7 software continues to evolve (as a cut-down version of some of the trending functionality included in ez2view) … however such was our busyness that we were unable to invest the time to describe what we’ve done in any Release Notes here.
That’s something we’ll strive to improve on in 2023.
NEMwatch is our entry-level dashboard to the NEM what we first developed in 2000 as one of the earliest map-based dashboards to highlight operations in the NEM. For a walk down memory lane, we recorded how NEMwatch v1 looked here.
Early in 2022 we released NEMwatch v10.3, as described in this Release Note at the time.
(C4) NEMwatchTM widget
Our brand ‘NEMwatch’ is used in a number of ways … to a broad number of spectators of the NEM focused on the energy transition, it’s used to describe the RenewEconomy-sponsored NEMwatch widget, that we first introduced back in 2015.
During 2022 it’s worth noting that:
1) In May 2022 we upgraded the widget, as outlined in this brief Release Note.
2) A more detailed Release Note was published in November 2022 when we upgraded the widget to add in (amongst other things) instantaneous percentages for both:
(a) Instantaneous VRE penetration on a grid-wise basis (a very worthwhile metric to trend); and
(b) Instantaneous Renewable Penetration (which we see as not as useful – and potentially even distracting – as a metric).
We’ll have to wait to see what 2023 has in store for the NEMwatch widget!
(C5) deSide ®
Our deSide® software was first developed around 2002 to assist large energy users manage their spot exposure…
… this is a form of Demand Response that’s been possible in the NEM since the start of the NEM, and one we have been actively involved in helping to facilitate (as described in this note from January 2019, and also noting this subsequent article about some of the barriers we’ve faced).
We continue to appreciate the opportunity to serve a number of large energy users (whose combined non-coincident peak consumption is into the thousands of megawatts) across all regions of the NEM. Some of these clients have been with us for 10 or 15 years.
Through 2022 we’ve seen a number of these deSide® clients also take licences to ez2view as they seek to gain further insights into the emerging complexities of how price is being formed within the NEM dispatch process.
(C6) Other initiatives
We continue to explore other software-based initiatives that we see could assist us in our Mission of ‘helping to make the complexity of the NEM more understandable’.
(D) WattClarity® Deeper Insights
A couple of years ago we started developing an extension to, and deepening of, the (freely-accessible) insights shared at www.WattClarity.com.au.
In conjunction with Greenview Strategic Consulting (GVSC), we began to produce a series of Analytical Reports and Statistical Digests that we gathered together under a ‘WattClarity Deeper Insights‘ label.
This started with the release of the GRC2018 in May 2019.
Following that report we were inundated with compliments (here’s a small sample) which has given us an extra boost to continue the development of these resources (in some cases annually).
Through calendar 2022 we saw a number of milestones achieved, such as the following:
(D1) A growing audience for GenInsights21
Again in conjunction with GVSC, we released GenInsights21 a couple weeks past 12 months ago now, on 15th December 2021.
GenInsights21 is a 622-page update of, and extension to, the 180 page analytical component included in the GRC2018 – exploring all sorts of different aspects of the historical operations of the NEM (including over 28 discrete appendices, some up to 50 pages in depth).
D1a) Growing client base
Being released so close to Christmas 2021, we did deliver a number of client copies in 2021 for those who were quick off the mark following the Release Note, but the majority of sales have been all the way through 2022 (our most recent sale being invoiced on 21st December 2022 … more than 12 months after release).
D1b) briefings to Industry Organisations
There are a number of different industry organisations that operate with respect to the NEM, advocating on behalf of certain subsets of key stakeholders of the NEM. In addition to briefings we delivered to certain specific clients (at their requests) we were also invited by a number of these Industry Organisations to deliver briefings (either for their members internally, or more broadly for the industry).
On 5th April 2022 to the Smart Energy Council.
Both GR and GVSC were invited by Smart Energy Council to provide a seminar on some of the insights included in GenInsights, which we completed on 5th April 2022. They recorded this webinar, and we shared it with our WattClarity readership on 10th April shortly afterwards:
This video, and the 600-page report behind it, are still garnering significant attention!
On Tuesday 26th April 2022 to the Australian Energy Council.
On Tuesday 26th April both GR and GVSC were involved in a presentation and discussion to AEC members … after which there was considerable discussion.
On Thursday 16th June (and in July) to the EUAA.
As noted here at the time, on 16th June 2022 both GR and GVSC were invited to provide a briefing to the EUAA membership. The presentation and discussion was so lively that it spilled over into a second session in July 2022.
On Monday 1st August 2022 to the Clean Energy Council.
Another presentation delivered through 2022 was on 1st August to the Market & Grid Directorate within the CEC.
D1c) Media Commentary
As with the GRC2018 there was a range of media coverage that followed the release of GenInsights21 … some of which was summarised in this article from Dan Lee.
In June 2022, the report was featured in the Winter 2022 issue of Smart Energy Magazine. Page 47 of the issue contained an article that highlighted a couple of the key themes and two of the twenty-eight appendices that formed part of the report.
These are just a couple of examples.
(D2) GenInsights Quarterly Updates
Given the success of GenInsights21, we made the decision to launch ‘GenInsights Quarterly Updates’ from Q2 2022 onwards, with each one containing an updates to the analysis presented in the original publication:
1) GenInsights Quarterly Updates for Q2 2022 was released in July 2022 – and delivered to subscribers at that time as a PDF report and online Executive Briefing.
2) GenInsights Quarterly Update for Q3 2022 was released on 31st October 2022 as a 204-page PDF, with clients receiving the report and the online Executive Briefing (including to the Board, in one case).
3) We’re currently gearing up to produce the next Quarterly Update, for Q4 2022, with release targeted for just after Australia Day. Indeed we have an Executive Briefing for a new client already pencilled in for early February.
Please give us a call if you would like to know more about these GenInsights Quarterly Updates!
(D3) Generator Statistical Digest 2021 (GSD2021)
Option 1) Supplied as a hard-copy printed document and electronic PDF;
Option 2) With an added extra ‘Data Extract’ also purchased by a number of clients.
The release date was a little later than the equivalent for the earlier GSD2019 and GSD2020 because we invested time to re-write the reporting framework to make it easier to work with in future releases.
(D4) Generator Statistical Digest 2022 (GSD2022)
We’re currently also gearing up to produce and release the GSD2022 early in calendar 2023, with data to 31st December 2022.
It’s going to be a busy month of January, because we’re also aiming to release this just after Australia Day (in parallel with, but independent of, the GenInsights Quarterly Update for Q4 2022).
(E) Specific Events
Some quick notes about other events through 2022:
After the COVID-induced hiatus in 2020 and 2021 it was wonderful to be able to get back to in-person events in 2022 – especially with our geographically dispersed team making it easier for at least one of us to attend events organised by the CEC, the Smart Energy Council, the EUAA and other industry events like All Energy and so on.
19th May 2022 – the CEC’s Large-Scale Solar Forum
On Thursday 19th May, Paul McArdle spoke at the Clean Energy Council’s Large-Scale Solar Forum at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Paul was invited to speak during the ‘Bang for your buck – operating in the NEM for maximum revenue’ session, and drew on the GSD2021 in presenting this.
Following the presentation, Paul shared some quick thoughts via Wattclarity:
Incidentally, with respect to the other presenters in this session:
1) Lachlan McLeod from Ekistika later wrote about ‘Benchmarking large-scale solar PV performance’ on WattClarity as a guest authored article (i.e. same topic of his presentation); and
2) At some point in 2023 we might be able to share Oliver Nunn’s thoughts as well.
We’re looking forward to more in-person events in 2023.
(F) Our investment in Overwatch Energy
Back at the end of 2019 we provided a first round of seed funding (with a number of other investors) to kick start the operations of Overwatch Energy Pty Ltd.
1) We did this in order to establish another way in which we can play a role in serving new entrant operators of Wind Farms, Solar Farms and Batteries in the NEM (Overwatch provides a distributed 24×7 operations room that plays a role in operating thousands of megawatts of Wind, Solar and Battery assets for their owners and/or operators).
2) We mentioned that investment when we recapped ‘some of the highlights of 2020 for us … our 21st year of operations’.
Since that first investment, we’ve been pleased to see the continued growth of scale of that business, as it’s fast become a trusted operator for a growing number of participants. On 15th December 2022, Overwatch provided this summary of its first ‘3 years in the NEM’ – which you might find interesting:
We’ll look forward to continuing to be involved in Overwatch in whatever way we can serve.
(G) Looking forward to 2023…
Having wrapped up 2022 we can now look forward to 2023 – knowing that it’s going to present its own opportunities and challenges (to us as an organisation – but also to the NEM more broadly).
We’ve appreciated the opportunity to serve thousands of people over the years across hundreds of different organisations (ranging from very large to very small), and we look forward to being able to continue into the future.
Don’t forget to subscribe to www.wattclarity.com.au for freely accessible insights gleaned from our energy market analysis and commentary.