The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will partner with Monash University and Idra Australia to test a new microgrid that will see the Clayton campus powered by renewable energy.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA will provide $2.97 million in funding to Monash University and Indra Australia for the Monash Smart Energy City project.

The pilot project will test the microgrid across the Monash University Clayton campus in Melbourne’s south east, utilising Indra’s Ingrid ‘Advanced Grid Management’ (AGM) software platform.

The microgrid will be operated as a grid connected smart embedded network containing a variety of distributed energy resources (DER) including up to 1MW of rooftop solar, 20 buildings with automated energy management systems, 1MWh of battery storage and electric vehicle charging stations.

The $7.1 million project will provide for the deployment and integration of Indra’s software platform and enable Monash to demonstrate how a 100 per cent renewable electricity system can operate reliably, provide value to consumers and reduce strain on the energy network.

ARENA CFO, Ian Kay, said this project would help Monash University transition to renewable energy.  

“The project will use Monash University as a ‘living laboratory’ that will help universities form their own microgrids and take control of their energy usage,” Mr Kay said.

“Universities use a significant amount of power during the day, Indra and Monash have offered a solution that can reduce peak demand and place the education sector on a path towards renewables.”

Findings from the project will help inform ARENA’s work around DER, as Australia moves towards an increasingly distributed energy system. At the start of October, ARENA launched the Distributed Energy Integration Program with energy market authorities, industry bodies and consumer associations.

Indra Australia’s Energy Solutions Manager, Giovanni Polizzi, said, “Indra actively invests in emerging technologies and innovative projects, and we forge strong partnerships with organisations developing cutting-edge technologies.  

“We are pleased to be a key technology partner in this leading initiative in which Indra’s intelligence leverages edge computing using both centralised and distributed components to monitor and control distributed grid elements in real time. It will allow Monash to control and optimise when and how energy is used across the campus.”

Program Director of Monash’s Net Zero Initiative, Scott Ferraro, said, “Through the Net Zero Initiative, we will be sourcing 100 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

“The microgrid will enable us to demonstrate how smart control of our distributed energy resources can enable this whilst providing benefits to our customers on campus and the broader energy network.” 

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