The legislation empowers the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to boost its ability to predict major weather-related events, such as hurricanes, droughts, floods and wildfires. Using faster, more powerful computers and more detailed data of weather patterns could increase the accuracy, Seitter says. Businesses have been able to access accurate, customizable weather forecasting online only in the last decade or so, says Bill Gail, chief technology officer at private forecaster Global Weather Corporation. Xcel Energy, who uses Gail's firm to anticipate wind energy production, improved its wind forecasting accuracy by nearly 35% from 2009 to 2015.
The persistent power-cuts and price surges have seen the Turnbull government blame the state's heavy reliance on intermittent wind farms and advocate for the building of new coal-fired plants, while renewable energy advocates are looking to battery storage systems, which are coming down in price but remain expensive, as the long-term solution. The telecommunications expert envisions an Internet of Things (IoT) integrated energy grid that provides live weather updates, monitors power shortfalls, predicts demand, and reacts accordingly – even utilising smart meters to adjust an entire state's air conditioners to reduce power consumption. Budde agrees there are dozens of examples about how upgrading to a smart grid could change power distribution for the better. SA Power Networks spokesperson Paul Roberts says the company had decided against IoT-based control of demand at this stage, partly due a lack of sensory capability through the network, but has just begun a three-year trial of 100 homes connecting their solar power and battery storage systems to the grid that will utilise IoT technologies.