ARENA backs Monash University microgrid trial

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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, developed as part of the University’s goal to achieve zero net emissions by 2030.

The pilot project will test the microgrid across the Monash University Clayton campus in Melbourne’s south east, utilizing Indra’s ingrid ‘Advanced Grid Management’ software platform. The microgrid will meet the energy demands of the campus, provide ancillary services to Victoria’s grid, and provide an example for further research and industry engagement with renewable-centered energy systems.

The $7.1 million microgrid will be operated as a grid connected smart embedded network containing a variety of distributed energy resources (DER) including up to 1 MW of rooftop solar, 20 buildings with automated energy management systems, 1 MWh of battery storage and electric vehicle charging stations.

“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,“ ARENA CFO Ian Kay said.

Findings from the project will help inform ARENA’s work around DER, as Australia moves towards an increasingly distributed energy system.

Last week at the All Energy show in Melbourne, ARENA launched the Distributed Energy Integration Program, a major new initiative that will see the whole-of-the-energy industry working together to harness the potential of consumer-owned energy.

Monash University has committed $135 million to its energy transformation between now and 2030, which covers LED lighting, campus electrification and purchase agreements, as well as on-site renewable energy systems. The University estimates that these measures will result in cost savings worth $15 million a year by 2028.