Former technology advisor to the Prime Minister and NSW Government John Riedl was so concerned by the state of the national energy grid he came out of retirement and joined forces with fellow retirees Greg Irving and John Grill AO to a company that would tackle the huge energy consumption of household swimming pools.
The company, Pooled Energy, was recently given a funding injection of $2.5million from Australian Renewable Energy Agency in February.
It currently employs 50 people, went “full commercial” last September, Mr Reidl told The Fifth Estate. The company has already been operating for five years to develop and refine the associated technology.
Pools are easily the largest energy-guzzling appliances in private residences, using up to 40 per cent of the electricity used in a single house.
Accordingly, there is a huge opportunity to cut down on the energy used by the 1.4 million pools in Australia to reduce costs for homeowners and lessen demand on the national energy grid.
Pooled Energy is looking to tackle this issue with its pool management offering – a self-learning ecosystem installed in pools so that they can sense and respond to the weather, season, time of day, water chemistry, cost of power, and other factors to optimise energy efficiency.
Instead of pools doing the same thing everyday – with pool operations generally adjusting bi-annually with the transition from cool to hot weather and vice versa – they are connected to a sophisticated machine learning-enabled ecosystem that fully automates and continuously optimises the pool’s energy management.
The offering also reduces chemical usage and household costs associated with pool maintenance.
According to Mr Reidl, the Pooled Energy ecosystem can already be applied to other appliances in the house, including fridges and air conditioners.
The long term goal of the company is that the pools managed by them will save enough energy collectively to enable the retirement of a coal-fired thermal generator from the grid within 10 years.
As an authorised electricity retailer, Mr Reidl said that the company is able to contribute to the stability of the grid.
The company is authorised to sell retail electricity to pool owners in NSW, Queensland, ACT, South Australia and Tasmania.