Vector joins forces with AWS to accelerate the future of energy


Amazon Web Services has announced ed a multi-year strategic alliance with Vector, one of New Zealand’s largest energy companies, to jointly develop the New Energy Platform (NEP).

Powered by AWS, the NEP is an Internet of Things (IoT) and analytics solution for the energy industry, and will be introduced first in Australia and New Zealand.

Deploying the solution in the two countries willenable real-time and optimal management of the countries’ over 40 distribution networks operated by 70 retailers.

This will help deliver to consumers more affordable, reliable, and cleaner energy options.

Through this strategic 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.

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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 rapidly collect and analyse data 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 solutions for their customers based on their energy consumption habits.

The NEP will leverage AWS IoT Analytics, a fully-managed service that makes it easy to run and operationalise sophisticated 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 advanced meter processing from 30 minute to five minute intervals in Australia by 2021.

This is designed to meet the requirements of the Five-Minute Settlement rule, an industry transformation 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 enable energy and utility companies to develop innovative solutions and new market models that accelerate the uptake of renewables and electric vehicles.

For example, the capacity of the NEP to rapidly process vast amounts of data means more precise 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.

With focus on decarbonisation globally and the electrification of transport, this is a critical development for the energy sector to enable customers using new technologies to integrate seamlessly into existing energy systems.

This strategic alliance to jointly develop the NEP is the first of its kind for AWS in New Zealand, and for AWS in the global energy sector. Through their strategic alliance, Vector and AWS plan to hire more than 30 employees in highly skilled technology and engineering roles in New Zealand to help develop the NEP and associated applications.

Simon Mackenzie, Group CEO of Vector, said: “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.

“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. The NEP can 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.”

Nick Walton, managing director for commercial sector at AWS in New Zealand, adds: “We see New Zealand as a hub of innovation, and it’s exciting to work with Vector, a leader in smart energy solutions, 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. We are proud to work with Vector to support New Zealand’s economy by together creating 30 new highly-skilled jobs and deliver the vision of empowering energy and utility companies to leverage data collected by the NEP to deliver solutions that will help consumers tailor their energy consumption, reduce their carbon footprint, and save money.”