Researchers seeking those affected by blackouts

Young girl trying to study by candlelight during blackout (reseachers blackouts)
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UNSW researchers Dr Mike Roberts and Dr Sophie Adams want to talk to NSW residents and business owners in regions that have been affected by blackouts resulting from storms, fires or floods.

Keeping the lights and fridge on, phones charged, and water pumping is crucial at any time and even more so throughout a natural disaster. Staying tuned in to emergency notices requires keeping the internet, radio, phones and television on. In the Black Summer bushfires, some communities were without power for more than a month, severely hampering their recovery.

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Drs Roberts and Adams want to talk to electricity customers and businesses to learn how to improve people’s energy supply when the grid fails during fires, floods and storms. They also want to talk to and collect energy data from people with solar, batteries or other energy sources that might help maintain their electricity supply.

Energy Sustainability through Knowledge and Information Exchange and Sharing (ESKIES) is a project of the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF). 

The study aims to gain an understanding of the role that solar, batteries and other energy sources, as well as energy management approaches, can play in maintaining electricity supply to regional and rural communities throughout bushfires, floods, storms and other disruptions to the electricity grid. 

The researchers will be talking to people about their experience during blackouts and will also be looking at their energy data.

“We want to then share that knowledge with others so they can find ways to avoid energy supply disruptions to their homes and businesses,” Dr Roberts says.

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Dr Adams says, “We’re mindful we’re going to be talking to people in communities that have suffered terribly from the fires and floods, and for this reason we’re open to engaging with participants at a level that suits them.”

More information can be found on the project sign up page.

The ESKIES project is funded through the joint Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Project partners include CEEM—UNSW Sydney, Australian PV Institute, PVOutput.org, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.