The Federal Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is providing $5 million to a Brisbane-based energy technology company to develop smart switchgear that will help maintain stability of the electricity grid.

The funding was awarded to NOJA Power, who’s new switchgear technology will be deployed at 100 locations across the distribution network to maintain frequency at 50 hertz which is critical for system strength and security. It will provide detailed, real-time snapshots of electrical flows and enable a significantly better power system data than is currently available.

The data captured by these devices will be shared with ARENA, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and energy network businesses to facilitate better-informed system planning and real-time operations.

Once developed, the switchgear will be trialled in areas of high renewable penetration in Queensland and Victoria.

This is part of the Federal Government’s commitment to supporting the energy transition while ensuring affordable, reliable and secure energy for Australian industry and households.

ARENA Chief Executive Ivor Frischknecht said this new smarter generation of switchgear would enable better integration of renewable energy and improve grid stability.

“This new Australian-led technology will not only create a new innovation we can export to the world but will also benefit our whole electricity system by giving us greater visibility over our distribution networks and allow for more variable renewable energy.”

Key outcomes of the project include:

  • Reduction in the cost of connection and increasing the value delivered by renewable energy in Australia
  • Developing new protection, control and monitoring firmware to address renewable energy challenges
  • Reducing or removing barriers to renewable energy uptake
  • Increasing Australian skills in renewable energy
  • Improving power system security, reliability and stability in Australia

NOJA Power is working with AEMO, Deakin University, the University of Queensland, Energy Queensland and AusNet on the project.

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