Ergon Energy’s new $6 million Microgrid and Isolated Systems Test (MIST) facility has opened in Cairns, and is set to accelerate the integration of new technology into Queensland’s electricity network. 

Manager of Intelligent Grid New Technology, Michelle Taylor, said the facility would play a key role in advancing renewables.

“Cairns is now home to one of the most sophisticated research and development hubs of its kind in Australia, with state-of-the-art technology and the technical expertise to do complex testing of community-scale solar and batteries, microgrids and standalone power systems,” Ms Taylor said.   

“This is a world-class facility with potential benefits for everyone in the power supply chain, from electricity distribution networks and product developers to the end users and academic researchers. 

“Queenslanders have led the renewable energy revolution and we’re excited to see what the industry’s leading lights can achieve next.”

The Ergon Energy team has played a leading role in the development of national standards for residential solar PV systems and batteries. 

Principal Engineer Technology Innovation, Alan Louis, said they’re now armed with the tools to think even bigger. 

With a super-computer for real time digital simulation and a large array of connection options, the MIST Facility is capable of complex testing of large-scale systems of up to one megawatt.

“Testing technology in simulated conditions before you deploy it saves time and money, especially when we’re talking about remote communities where we want to integrate more renewables to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels for financial and environmental reasons,” Mr Louis said.  

“In this facility we can test the standard diesel generating sets that are part of our traditional isolated networks and improve interactions with solar installations and battery storage systems.   

“As the world moves away from fossil fuels and embraces alternative energy solutions, we’re working to ensure Queenslanders stay ahead of the curve.

“With a facility of this calibre, we can prepare customers, communities and our workforce for the future, support regional development and build on our relationships with local academic institutions, like James Cook University and Central Queensland University.”

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