Monday, 15 October 2018 00:47

ARENA, Monash Uni, Indra team to trial Monash transition to full renewable energy grid

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ARENA, Monash Uni, Indra team to trial Monash transition to full renewable energy grid Pixabay

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is teaming up with  Monash University and technology partner Indra Australia to trial a microgrid on Monash’s Clayton campus in Victoria that will see the campus powered by renewable energy.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA will provide $2.97 million in funding to Monash University and Indra Australia for the Monash Smart Energy City project, which will test the microgrid across the University’s campus in Melbourne’s south east, utilising Indra’s Ingrid Advanced Grid Management software platform.

The microgrid will be operated as a grid-connected smart embedded network containing a variety of distributed energy resources, including up to 1MW of rooftop solar, 20 buildings with automated energy management systems, 1 MWh of battery storage and electric vehicle charging stations.

The $7.1 million project will provide for the deployment and integration of Indra’s software platform and enable Monash to demonstrate how a 100% renewable electricity system can operate reliably, provide value to consumers and reduce strain on the energy network.

ARENA chief financial officer Ian Kay said the project would help Monash University transition to renewable energy.  

“The project will use Monash University as a ‘living laboratory’ that will help universities form their own microgrids and take control of their energy usage," he said.

“Universities use a significant amount of power during the day, Indra and Monash have offered a solution that can reduce peak demand and place the education sector on a path towards renewables.”

Findings from the project will help inform ARENA’s work around DER, as Australia moves towards an increasingly distributed energy system.

Last week, ARENA launched the Distributed Energy Integration Program with energy market authorities, industry bodies and consumer associations.

Indra Australia’s Energy Solutions manager Giovanni Polizzi said: “Indra actively invests in emerging technologies and innovative projects and we forge strong partnerships with organisations developing cutting-edge technologies.  

“We are pleased to be a key technology partner in this leading initiative in which Indra’s intelligence leverages edge computing using both centralised and distributed components to monitor and control distributed grid elements in real-time. It will allow Monash to control and optimise when and how energy is used across the campus.”

Monash’s Net Zero Initiative program director Scott Ferraro said: “Through the Net Zero Initiative, we will be sourcing 100% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

“The microgrid will enable us to demonstrate how smart control of our distributed energy resources can enable this while providing benefits to our customers on campus and the broader energy network.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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