Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

AWS and Vector form New Zealand energy alliance

Steve Rogerson
July 29, 2020

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has formed a multi-year strategic alliance with Vector, one of New Zealand’s largest energy companies, to develop the country’s New Energy Platform (NEP).
Powered by AWS, the NEP is an IoT and analytics proposition for the energy industry, and will be introduced first in Australia and New Zealand, where there are around 70 energy retailers and more than 40 distribution networks, to help deliver to consumers more affordable, reliable and cleaner energy.
Through this alliance, Vector and AWS will leverage the breadth and depth of AWS services, including IoT, analytics, machine learning (ML) and infrastructure services, with Vector’s energy industry knowledge, plus the joint engineering capability of both organisations.
The rise in renewable energy sources, growth in electric vehicles and higher consumer expectations for lower prices and sustainable energy sources require the energy industry to transform and harness the power of data to make smarter customer-centric decisions. The initial focus of the NEP is to collect and analyse data rapidly from more than 1.6 million IoT-connected Vector advanced meters that securely gather information on energy consumption and network performance across Australia and New Zealand.
The insights collected by the NEP will help Vector enable energy and utility companies to develop tailored product and pricing for their customers based on their energy consumption habits. The NEP will leverage AWS IoT Analytics, a managed service that makes it easy to run and operationalise analytics on massive volumes of data to provide Vector and other energy and utilities companies with insights on network performance to help plan energy networks, drive smarter investment decisions and increase reliability for consumers.
By increasing the capacity and rate of data collection, the NEP is designed to help Vector deliver meter processing from 30 to five minute intervals in Australia by 2021. This is designed to meet the requirements of the Five-Minute Settlement rule introduced by the Australian Energy Market Operator designed to align price signals with real-time usage and lead to more efficient bidding, operational decisions and investment.
In the future, insights from the NEP will help energy and utility companies develop innovations and market models that accelerate the uptake of renewables and electric vehicles. For example, the capacity of the NEP’s ability to process and reason over vast amounts of incoming data means more precise, more timely information will be able to be provided to the energy market. This should result in accurate and dynamic pricing models for energy and utility companies that will incentivise the use of energy that is locally produced such as solar panels and microgrids, or stored by consumers themselves via batteries.
This alliance to develop the NEP is the first of its kind for AWS in New Zealand, and for AWS in the global energy power and utility sector. With a focus on decarbonisation globally and the electrification of transport, this is a critical development for the sector to enable customers using new technologies to integrate seamlessly and cost effectively into existing utility systems. Through this alliance, Vector and AWS plan to hire more than 30 employees in technology and engineering roles in New Zealand to help develop the NEP and associated applications.
“Consumers are demanding cleaner, more reliable and more affordable energy and, through our alliance with AWS, we are taking critical steps to transform how the energy industry operates,” said Simon Mackenzie, group CEO of Vector. “While there have been technology advances in the energy industry, there has been very little close to the consumer, and that’s where we see our role. By collaborating with AWS, our vision is for the NEP to transform the energy industry by using data to inform innovation and product development.”
He said the NEP could displace legacy systems creating a step change in processing power, flexibility and accuracy addressing the rapidly changing requirements of metering and information systems.
“This industry-first in New Zealand is another step in our long-stated ambition to partner with like-minded organisations to benefit our energy and utility customers, and ultimately consumers,” he said.
Nick Walton, managing director for the commercial sector at AWS in New Zealand, added: “We see New Zealand as a hub of innovation, and it’s exciting to work with Vector, a leader in smart energy, to pioneer the NEP and deliver on our shared vision to drive a more sustainable future of energy. This strategic alliance will have a profound impact on the energy sector, as Vector and AWS work together to leverage advanced IoT, analytics, machine learning and compute services to digitise millions of energy network assets at scale.”