CWP Renewables says it will launch a new micro-grid division after winning the ACT’s latest large scale wind energy auction and agreeing to invest in a project that may take the Canberra Institute of Technology off grid with a mix of solar and storage and smart control systems.
The CIT, located in the suburb of Bruce, has been looking at a potential micro-grid project for some time, using a mixture of rooftop and carpark solar PV, battery storage and control systems, as part of a plan to work towards a zero net emissions campus.
Alex Hewitt, the managing director of CWP, says the CIT project will be a test-bed of micro-grid technology, and for its own business plans for micro-grids in Australia and the Asia-Pacific.
“We see that the price of solar and battery storage is coming down, and they (micro-grids) are starting to become very cost competitive for behind-the-meter solutions,” Hewitt told RenewEconomy.
He said there were lots of potential applications in Asia and the Pacific region, particularly for diesel replacement and substitution.
“In Australia, we see opportunities in commercial and industrial applications, and housing estates. We’re still grappling with the size of the opportunity. The economics will determine how big this space will be, but we see this emerging quickly and are trying to position ourselves for it.”
CWP recently invested in a European energy management technology called Exceron, and as part of its deal with the ACT will invest $35 million to develop an Asia-Pacific micro-grid export hub in the ACT.
A feasibility study for the $9.6 million CIT micro grid project was completed a year ago. It is an exciting project,” Hewitt said.