A collaborative research project between Horizon Power and Murdoch University has been recognised at an international awards ceremony in Chile for its research into solar power and photovoltaic systems.
The Distributed Energy Resource (DER) trials in Carnarvon won a joint silver award at the Energy Smart Communities Initiative (ESCI) Awards. The trials, which are funded by Horizon Power and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), are helping to shape the future of solar power in Western Australia.
Dr Martina Calais, Senior Lecturer in the discipline of Engineering and Energy and chief investigator of the project at Murdoch University said the trials are designed to help better understand the effects of large numbers of PV and battery systems connected to the network in small towns.
“We are investigating whether small energy networks powered by increasing numbers of photovoltaic systems backed by batteries can be an economical and reliable way of delivering clean energy to the town,” Dr Calais said.
The three year trial commenced in 2018 and involves more than 80 Horizon Power customers and involves investigating the management of renewable energy and energy storage on a selected segment of the power grid in Carnarvon.
“DER could represent the future of energy generation in remote and regional areas as Australia moves away from centralised fossil-fuelled generation,” Dr Calais said
“The trials will give us a deep understanding of the impact of variable weather on solar photovoltaic electricity generation, and how the variability affects the network.”
Participants’ systems have been fitted with monitor and control technology and gather solar and battery performance data. This information, along with weather data, power station performance and network operation data is being analysed by a team of Murdoch researchers.
Dr Calais and research partner, David Edwards of Horizon Power accepted the award via a pre-recorded video thanking ESCI for recognising this ground-breaking project which has been a true partnership between the two organisations.
63 cases from 17 APEC economies participated in the 2019 ESCI Best Practices Awards Program.
The Energy Smart Communities Initiative was launched in November 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). ESCI covers four main pillars—Smart Transport, Smart Buildings, Smart Grids, and Smart Jobs and Consumers—along with the cross-cutting examples of Low Carbon Model Towns.