Monash and Indra secure ARENA funding for Smart Energy City

L-R: Phil Cohn, Business Development and Transactions, ARENA, Professor Ann Nicholson, Deputy Dean (Research) Faculty of Information Technology, Dr Yasmina Dkhissi, Net Zero Strategy Manager, Giovanni Polizzi, Manager Energy Solutions, Indra, Mr Ken Sloan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Enterprise), Andres Molnar, Head of Energy Solutions, Indra, Dr Ariel Liebman, Deputy Director of Monash Energy Materials Systems Institute,Scott Ferraro, Net Zero Program Manager

Monash University continues to play a leading role in the transformation of Australia’s electricity system, with the launch of the Monash Smart Energy City project.

Monash, with industry partner Indra and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), today announced they have been successful in receiving $2.9 million through ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program for the Monash Smart Energy City project.

Launching the funding at Monash’s Clayton campus today, Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the Smart Energy City project demonstrated Monash’s commitment to working with industry to develop solutions for pressing global issues.

“This project builds upon the University’s $135 million commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2030, and to develop strong partnerships with industry to help modernise Australia’s energy system,” Professor Gardner said. “It will leverage Monash’s investment to date, and provide a platform for our academics to deliver industry-relevant research and teaching.”

The Smart Energy City project will see the development of a Microgrid at Monash Clayton. Using Indra’s Ingrid AGM software platform, the Microgrid will enable control of various distributed energy resources deployed as part of the Net Zero Initiative, including a minimum of 1MW of solar panels, 20 buildings, electric vehicle charging stations and 1 MWh of energy storage.

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

The Microgrid will enable Monash to demonstrate how a 100 percent renewable electricity system can operate reliably, and the value it can provide to consumers and the broader energy network.

“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,” said Scott Ferraro, Program Director of Monash’s Net Zero Initiative.

As Australia’s largest University, Monash will be using the Smart Energy City project to undertake world-leading research and teaching.

“The Microgrid provides a living laboratory for our researchers and students to tackle the pressing issues facing Australia’s electricity sector,” said Director of the Monash Energy Materials and Systems Institute, Dr Jacek Jasieniak.

The funding from ARENA will bring the total project funding to $7.1 million, and will provide for deployment and integration of Indra’s software platform onto the University’s assets. Indra will work in partnership with Monash’s Buildings and Property Division to deploy and operate the Microgrid over the two-year project timeframe.

ARENA CFO Ian Kay said the 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.

“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,” Mr Kay said.

For further information on Monash’s Net Zero Initiative, visit the Net Zero Initiative website.