Monash leads universities with microgrid trial

Monash microgrid
Image: reinaimaging via Shutterstock.com

Monash University is trialling a microgrid in an effort to transition entirely to renewables in partnership with the Australia Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and technology partner Indra Australia.

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

The pilot project will test the microgrid across the campus, 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.

Related article: ARENA launches DER integration program

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 customers and reduce strain on the energy network.

ARENA CFO Ian Kay says 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.

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,” Kay says.

Indra Australia’s energy solutions manager Giovannie Polizzi says Indra actively invests in emerging technologies and innovative projects, forging strong partnerships with organisations developing cutting-edge technology.

“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,” Polizzi says. “It will allow Monash to control and optimise when and how energy is used across the campus.”

According to Monash’s Net Zero Initiative program director Scott Ferraro, Monash aims to source its electricity from 100 per cent renewable sources by 2030.

Related article: Monash wins global award for Net Zero Initiative