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AusNet, Deakin Uni to build 7.25MW solar, storage micro-grid

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Network operator AusNet service and Deakin University have joined forces to create a 7.25MW “smart microgrid” that will combine solar, battery storage and a research and “visualisation” facility to help encourage more such projects.

The $30 million project will feature a 7.25MW solar farm and a 1MW/1MWh lithium ion battery storage installation, along with other smart technologies, to be built at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus in the southern suburbs of Geelong, outside Melbourne.

It is expected to be operating from mid-2019 and will account for around half of the university campus’ energy needs.

AusNet managing director Nino Ficca said the partnership with Deakin reflects the significant shift in how energy is being generated, delivered and used, and could be expanded to include other technologies such as hydrogen storage and electric vehicles.

“Our aim is to explore what the future energy possibilities might be and use the research outcomes to empower communities and customers,” Ficca said in a statement. “The opportunities that can be created leveraging this initiative are limitless.”

Deakin University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander said there was a growing global need for research in innovative renewable energy systems, and the new partnership would help to build Deakin’s and AusNet Services’ capacities as leaders i.

“As we have seen in Australia and overseas, the demands on energy networks are changing rapidly as technology and knowledge tries to keep up with the growing shift by industry, consumers and governments towards sustainable energy generation and distributed energy systems,” she said.

“This partnership gives Deakin an unparalleled opportunity to help drive the renewable energy revolution by providing unique opportunities for researchers to develop and test solutions at an industrial scale and train the next generation of energy professionals.”

den Hollander said the micro-grid would generate half of the Waurn Ponds campus energy needs on site – reflecting the growing view that half of all generation would ultimately be delivered by on-site renewables and storage over coming decades.

The partnership is being led by Mondo Power, an “independent” subsidiary of AusNet that specialises in advanced energy management solutions for both commercial and community partners with a focus on distributed energy offerings.

   

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  • Rod

    We have seen a few of these University based schemes of late where very large arrays only partly meet demand.
    I wonder how much work is being done on efficiencies first.

    • trackdaze

      Uni bars need allot of refrigeration.

      • Rod

        Ah now it makes sense

        • trackdaze

          And ice

    • Adrian

      An excellent point. Deakin has already done some good work including instrumenting dozens of buildings and using the Kinesis platform to better understand inputs and consumption. Planning work for the microgrid has “focussed the mind” even more. It’s a challenge with an ever-growing university but “emissions per student”are tracking in the right direction.

      • Rod

        Thanks for clarifying Adrian and good to hear emissions per student are trending down.

  • Adrian Ingleby

    Hydrogen storage ! On 21.11.2017 RE reported on Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s ACOLA report on storage from renewable sources. Dr. Finkel said, “Don’t forget hydrogen has got enormous potential – suggesting it could be used to substitute methane [Coal Seam Gas and or Natural gas]” Now AusNet managing director Nino Ficca is saying that the Deakin Uni program could be expanded to include hydrogen storage [and electric vehicles]. It’s good to see qualified experts thinking about developing safer alternatives to toxic unconventional gas extraction.