The Australian and New South Wales (NSW) governments have invested A$ 7 million in a project that aims to develop new ways to operate the existing energy grid.
The goal of the project is to optimise the use of the network’s capacity to carry energy, as more energy devices like solar panels and batteries come into the network.
The evolve project is a consortium of nine partners led by the Australian National University and a software development company.
According to the Managing Director of the company, the current electricity system was designed for centralised large-scale generation.
However, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) estimates that 40% of consumers will have rooftop solar in the next decade.
The energy system is changing, with more and more customers installing rooftop solar, batteries and smart appliances, and with electric vehicles likely to be adopted in larger numbers in the near future.
These new devices are creating new challenges and opportunities for future electricity network management.
The University’s Head of the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program explained that the project will develop and deliver capabilities to allow electricity network operators to work with the market players to identify and alleviate congestion in the grid.
Aggregators are included in the project partners. They are the service providers who control consumer level solar panels, batteries and other devices.
Network operators are included in the project partners as well.
The project team will be working with organisations that distribute electricity to more than half the Australian population.
Investment by both government and industry is essential to the success of research projects that are aiming to solve some of the nation’s greatest challenges.
The researchers have the expertise to analyse problems and develop solutions in the lab.
However, in order to have workable and adaptable solutions, there is a need to be working with industry as well as governments.
This project is an excellent example of three key sectors coming together to deliver the long-term solutions for designing the infrastructure needed to address this significant challenge.
The Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at The Australian National University is an international research and development (R&D) initiative based at the University in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
It receives assistance from the ACT Government under the Renewable Energy Innovation Fund initiative.
Meanwhile, the software development company was established to develop software solutions to help electricity distribution networks thrive within a rapidly changing supply chain.
The company’s team is passionate about creating the next generation of operational and planning support systems for the industry, to facilitate the growth of renewables and distributed energy resources.