Two guys with a vision
Amber Electric was set up by two guys with a vision - to deliver power to Australian households at true wholesale prices, saving their customers money and also drawing on a greater share of renewable sources. Since launching in 2017, they have grown to more than 50 staff, offering their services in various states and territories. In February 2022, they were awarded Victorian Startup of the Year at the inaugural Governor of Victoria Startup Awards and in 2021 also receive investment from Main Sequence Ventures, the deep tech fund founded by CSIRO.
Their goal is to bring transparency to the electricity market, with customers able to access the publicly available wholesale prices, which varies every 30 minutes.
This service allows customers to shift their usage to times where the electricity is at a lower cost, rather than a fixed/set price per kW/hr offered by many other companies.
Amber Electric set out to explore methods that could be used to develop a wholesale National Energy Market price forecast. The ability to forecast more accurately gives customers a chance to see expected prices for the 12 hours ahead, and to then make more informed decisions about their energy usage and potentially save money.
Improvements to forecasting would also support Amber's SmartShift™ technology that allows customers to optimise their electricity usage for items such as hot water systems, pool pumps and household batteries to automatically use power when it is cheaper by drawing upon a greater share of renewable energy sources.
Amber Electric connected with CSIRO through the Kick-Start program, led by CSIRO’s energy researcher Lachlan O’Neil. The four-month project was comprised of two stages:
Stage one: Once the team identified what data needed to be collected from Amber Electric and online sources, it was then cleaned and shared between CSIRO and Amber Electric. CSIRO researchers then developed case studies for wholesale electricity price periods of concern. For example, when the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecast that prices would be high. However, in reality prices were low. Finally, potential methods and models were identified that could be useful for predicting prices, such as incorporating the market bidding behaviours of the various fossil fuel and renewable generators around the country.
Stage two: CSIRO developed a basic version of a model identified in stage one, followed by testing the model, analysing the outputs, and one round of model refinement.
CSIRO researchers built a wholesale energy price forecast that was more accurate than AEMO’s pre-dispatch price forecast for some subsets of pricing events identified in stage one. This gave Amber Electric the confidence to proceed with further investment in developing refined price forecast models, which they expect to release in market users to access by the end of 2023.
I would highly recommend the Kick-Start process to other start-ups looking to undertake research projects with CSIRO. The program allowed us to accelerate our technology development in partnership with the brilliant minds at CSIRO. The Kick-Start program was very simple and straight forward, which was really important to us as start-up with limited resources and big ambitions.
— Dan Adams, Co-CEO Amber Electric
For more information and to apply, get in touch with our CSIRO Kick-Start Program team.
Dr Megan Sebben
Kick-Start Program Manager (SCIENCE CONNECT)
Find out more and apply
- Program Eligibility and Guidelines PDF (171 KB)
- Program Eligibility and Guidelines - text version TXT (11 KB)
- Expressions of Interest form DOCX (47 KB)
To find out more about how CSIRO works with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), get in touch with our SME Connect team.