Industry 4.0 for energy productivity 

Chief Investigators

Purpose of project

Industry 4.0 describes a suite of solutions including better data, improved data analytics and greater connectivity and autonomy to optimise energy usage. This includes: artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), advanced metering, remote control, robotics and automation, and cloud computing. Industry 4.0 is described as “enabling informed yet autonomous decisions” for flexibility and agility (Ghobakhloo and Fathi, 2021), which also directly relates to the objectives of RACE for Business research theme B4: flexible demand and demand control technology and development. It is important to note that an emphasis on end-to-end energy productivity is critical, as focusing on individual business productivity improvements will not deliver the scale of change required to meet the target impacts (explained further below). Industry-wide strategies to stimulate adoption of key Industry 4.0 capabilities across supply chains and/or ecosystems will be essential to achieve scale. For example, very few businesses will be able to independently generate enough of the right data to build adequate algorithms for effective AI improvements.  


    • In the non-residential buildings sector, the relevant platform for Industry 4.0 is an Energy Management Information System, which can include specific energy productivity applications such as monthly data analytics, energy analytics using real-time and submeter data, equipment fault detection and diagnosis, building control optimisation and flexible demand 
    • In the industrial sector, Industry 4.0 enables services such as energy efficiency, real time monitoring, resource management, interoperability, autonomisation and flexibility. 
    • Barriers to Industry 4.0 include technological, economic, regulatory and social issues, such as industry perception based on imperfect information, entrenches practices, short-term focus of investment decisions, trust deficits due to previous failed technology implementations, technical complexity and security/privacy risks, lack of interoperability and standardisation of data, training deficits in technologies and processes, and the need for organisational change.   
    • Legal and regulatory frameworks will need to be adjusted to enable the large-scale data practices which are part of Industry 4.0. The report summarises the regulatory frameworks which may be relevant. 
    • Business model patterns applicable to Industry 4.0 include integration, servitisation and expertisation, all of which are designed to leverage the mass of data available once Industry 4.0 is adopted. The report provides details on these models, including challenges with and benefits of implementation.  

    Potential impact

    Potential energy productivity benefits from using Industry 4.0 include gross energy savings of $1.1 billion by 2030-31, with corresponding emissions reductions of 5.9 Mt CO2-e by 2030-31. The International Energy Agency (IEA, 2014) has identified that the multiple economic and social benefits of energy-efficiency technologies can produce up to 2.5 times the value of the energy savings.  

    Research roadmap – the path to decarbonisation 

    The research roadmap is structured into six strategic focus areas, namely: cybersecurity frameworks and guidelines, methods for valuing energy efficiency/productivity, removal of interoperability barriers, stakeholders’ awareness and capacity building, institutional arrangements and platform for data sharing and data management, and Pilot and Demonstration projects. A prioritised list of projects was developed, which identified target sectors, key beneficiaries, main challenges, timeframes and indicative project budgets, as indicated in the table below.  

    Prioritised list of projects

    Project partners – industry and research

    University of Technology Sydney (UTS) (Lead),  Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP), AGL, Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC), CSIRO, Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) (VIC), Exergenics,  IoT Alliance Australia (IoTAA),  NSW DCCEEW,  RMIT, Simble, Sydney Water 

    Industry Reference Group members

    AGL, Bosch, Exergenics, Federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water (DCCEEW), Federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), DPIE, DELWP, Energy OS, NSW Environmental Protection Authority (NSW EPA), Schneider, Simble, SwitchDin, Sydney Water, Telstra

    Completion date

    January 2023


    Ghobakhloo M, and Fathi M (2021) ‘Industry 4.0 and opportunities for energy sustainability’, Journal of Cleaner Production. 

    IEA (International Energy Agency) (2014) Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency, website, accessed 20 June 2023.  

    Project code


    Page last updated 12 March 2024