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ThoughtWorks, a global software consultancy, and ITP Renewables are merit recipients of the ‘Technology Platform Solution of the Year’ category for their openCEM renewable energy model at the New South Wales State iAwards.

The iAwards is Australia's longest running and most broadly scoped innovation recognition program, promoting excellence in the Australian digital ecosystem. The iAwards unearths, recognises and rewards excellence in Australian innovation that is making a difference and has the potential to create positive change for the community – whether this is at home, in the office or on a global scale.

The winning innovation, openCEM is Australia’s first free to use, open-source capacity expansion modelling tool that enables users to see how the energy sector can transition to a zero-carbon electricity system. Supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Governments of NSW, Victoria and South Australia, openCEM is able to demonstrate how an advanced industrial economy can run reliably on a suite of orchestrated renewable energy and energy storage providers. Users can run unlimited scenarios to review the implications of a wide range of input assumptions including technology characteristics and costs, and electricity demand profiles, through to 2050.

The sophisticated modelling informs when and where existing electricity generation capacity should be retired; and when, where, what type and how much renewable energy, storage and transmission capacity should be added. This in turn provides insight into how Australia can reach greenhouse gas emission and renewable energy targets at least cost, while maintaining a reliable electricity system.

With usage rates of over 100 per month, it is expected that fundamental energy sector planning decisions will be increasingly guided by openCEM analysis. This process will impact all National Electricity Market customers across Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania; approximately 22 million people or 89% of the Australian population.

Speaking of the award, Kristan Vingrys, managing director of ThoughtWorks Australia said, "Working with ITP Renewables to develop the technology that will help Australia reach its renewable energy targets and cut greenhouse gas emissions has been a rewarding experience for everyone involved. We are extremely grateful to the iAwards for this recognition and help shining a spotlight on a project that will leave a lasting impact.”

ITP strategy group manager Oliver Woldring said “We are honoured and thank the iAwards for this recognition. ThoughtWorks was a great partner in developing a tool that could translate the immense amounts of complex data into something researchers, investors, policy makers or the general public can reliably use.” 

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