Neighbourhood Battery Initiative (NBI) – development of an energy trading online game to explore shared battery storage



Australia’s energy markets are in a period of rapid change, driven by the growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) like renewable energy generation and energy storage technologies. As decarbonisation of Australia’s electricity grid continues, these changes will have a large impact on the network, introducing complexity and challenges regarding supply-demand, load balance, and power flows from distribution systems to the central transmission system. Neighbourhood, or community-scale, batteries (~1-5MW) present an opportunity to mitigate these challenges, deferring the need for network upgrades by providing local energy storage and distribution. Using the shared battery, communities can store energy from their rooftop solar PV, allowing for increased solar PV energy generation (hosting capacity), lower energy costs, and greater energy equity across solar and non-solar energy users.

Fundamental to the successful implementation of neighbourhood batteries is their integration and interaction with energy users. A key aim of DERs is to provide transparency to the currently opaque relationship between energy retailers and customers, providing energy users with greater understanding and agency in their energy use. An interactive and engaging platform is therefore needed to facilitate this involvement, allowing all energy users to understand more about key aspects of energy trading, costs, and the differing optimisations for battery operation. An online game and/or application, inspired by the existing “Watts the Deal?” peer-to-peer energy trading game, has been proposed for such a platform. This project would entail the design and development of this online game and/or application, including its compatibility with the NBI’s various optimisation calculators for battery operation.

The research outcomes of this project will contribute to the work being conducted for the NBI. The NBI addresses the need for data-driven evidence about the impacts of neighbourhood batteries on decarbonisation, prices and economics, access and equity, and hosting capacity for local renewables. In doing so, it seeks to provide guidance on models for optimisation of these criteria, producing the necessary impact, software, and integration tools to do so. 

How to apply

To submit an expression of interest for this project, please email by Monday 14th February 2022 with the subject line: “Student Project EOI: Neighbourhood Battery Initiative (NBI).”

Your email must include all of the following for your application to be considered:

  • Academic transcript(s)
  • CV
  • 1/2-1 page written statement covering your project motivation and goals



Required skills

  • Experience in the development of an online game and/or application
  • Familiarity with programming language/s and energy systems modelling
  • An interest in the project topic, as well as a broader interest in the work of the ANU BSGIP

Suggested skills

  • Familiarity with energy system datasets, including AEMO supply/demand data
  • An understanding of renewable energy technologies, energy storage, grid integration, the National Electricity Market (NEM), and/or decarbonisation pathways is desirable


Background Literature

ANU BSGIP Neighbourhood batteries website:

H. Ransan-Cooper, B. C. P. Sturmberg, M. E. Shaw, and L. Blackhall, “Applying responsible algorithm design to neighbourhood-scale batteries in Australia,” Nat Energy, vol. 6, no. 8, pp. 815–823, Aug. 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41560-021-00868-9.

‘Watts the Deal?’ peer-to-peer trading game:

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing