GSP-ESC-01-Developing a Persistence Model to Assess the Energy Efficiency of Biomass Boilers


Essential Services Commission (ESC) is an independent regulator that promotes the long- term interests of Victorian consumers with respect to the price, quality and reliability of essential services.

ESC is administering the Victorian Energy Upgrades Program (formerly the VEET Scheme) which awards energy efficiency certificates for proving energy savings using a method called measurement and verification. These custom project-based activities can encompass nearly any technology, and one of the features of this method is that applicants can claim savings for several years in advance, by applying a persistence model to their savings which describe how the energy efficiency of the equipment decreases over time with wear etc. For example, some solar PV projects may be able to claim for up to 9.91 years at once (the maximum available period is 10 years). Things that affect persistence may include factors such as maintenance requirements, wear, fouling, corrosion etc.

Currently ESC is using a tool developed by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage which includes the persistence models for several technology equipment types ( Applicants can use one of these models, or if a model does not exist, they can either propose their own, or use a conservative set of default decay factors which may over-estimate the decay.

It is recognized that this tool is not applicable to some technology types, including biomass boilers. Biomass boilers may use a range of different fuels types which includes eligible types of wood, food and municipal waste among others. Background about the method can be found here: and specifically the detailed document providing details of how we administer M&V is found here

ESC wishes to engage RMIT students in a project aiming to develop a persistence model which describes biomass boilers and the depreciation of their energy efficiency over a ten-year period.


No. Main Deliverable Description Estimated Timing
1 Project Plan Students discuss with ESC and RMIT academic supervisors about a detailed project plan. July 2019
2 Literature Review, Data Collection and Analysis Students work under their academic supervisors to review relevant literature and collect relevant data under the facilitation of ESC. July-August 2019
3 Development of a robust, research and evidence -based persistence model which describes how the energy efficiency of a biomass boiler decays over time (Draft) –     Data are presented as a set of yearly fractions (decay factors) for years one to ten which represent for each year the proportion of efficiency relative to when it was initially installed.

–     This will take the form of a tool in excel, which mirrors that in the OEH tool, along with delivery of modelling and raw data files which support the tool

–     The tool must be able to adjust the decay factors based on factors including biomass fuel type, location within Victoria, water hardness and any other important operating conditions which affects persistence.

–     The model may also consider other locations within Australia, but its primary purpose is to describe persistence within Victoria.

–     Ideally this will also include a presentation and report of findings which explains the rationale and method followed to develop the tool

September – November, 2019
4 Comments on the draft model Discussion with ESC about the model.
7 Presentation of final model Revise the model and present the final one to ESC



  • Students work under the supervision of RMIT academic supervisor.
  • ESC appoints a contact person to help students access to data and info. There should be regular (fortnightly/monthly) meetings between students and ESC to discuss the project progress.


  • UG/PG Sustainable Systems/Sustainable Energy Engineering students.
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