Monash showcases microgrid to energy industry

The Monash University microgrid will be on display to industry this week at the inaugural 2019 Monash Energy Conference.

The Monash University microgrid will be on display to industry this week at the inaugural 2019 Monash Energy Conference. The conference will bring together Monash academics and experts from industry and government across a range of energy-related disciplines, and provide a snapshot of current advances, initiatives and future trends in the energy domain at Monash and beyond.

Forming part of the United Nations-awarded Net Zero Initiative, the microgrid at Monash’s Clayton campus aims to showcase how a 100 per cent renewable-powered city can operate. Comprising 20 buildings, 1MW of solar, 1 MWh of storage and 2 EV chargers, Monash’s microgrid is intended to be a fully functioning local electricity network and trading market, with dynamic optimisation of resources interacting with an external energy market.

In partnership with global technology company Indra, and using its advanced real-time IoT platform, Monash is developing a precinct-scale microgrid platform as part of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)-funded Smart Energy City project.

The Monash eResearch Centre is collaborating with researchers from the Faculty of Information Technology and Faculty of Engineering to develop a smart energy management platform on the foundation of Indra’s enabling technology.

“We’re undertaking an ambitious R&D effort to create an internal transactive energy market, which will allow for orchestration of our distributed energy resources (DER) in response to both internal and external market signals, such as managing peak demand, frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) and demand response,” said Robert Glasgow, Lead Architect at Monash University.

“We’ll have a virtual, lab-based and city-scale microgrid platform here at Monash; this world-leading smart energy environment will provide significant opportunities for our researchers, students and industry partners,” he said.

“The Smart Energy City project allows us to demonstrate the use of the latest edge computing technology, and our active grid management platform for real-time monitoring and control of distributed energy resources,” said Andres Molnar, Indra’s Energy Consulting and Solutions Manager, APAC.

Ahead of the conference, a series of reports have been launched to outline the microgrid platform under development, as well as the regulatory and commercial considerations for microgrid development across Australia.

The Smart Energy City Introductory Report highlights the platform being developed, and key questions highlighted by industry stakeholders.

As part of the Microgrid Electricity Market Operator project, supported by the Victorian government’s Microgrid Demonstration Initiative, Monash has published a Market Assessment for Microgrid Electricity Market Operators that outlines five preliminary recommendations to enable microgrids to create substantial economic value for Victoria.

Monash’s Net Zero Initiative Program Director, Scott Ferraro, said: “We have identified that microgrids can provide up to $36 million per year in value to the Victorian economy, but their uptake is hampered by a number of regulatory barriers.

Outside of broader large-scale energy market reform, there are a number of short-term actions governments can take to enhance uptake of microgrids and deliver on this value for consumers, and we’ll continue to work with key stakeholders to address these barriers.”

A Commercialisation Brochure is the final report in this series, which outlines the opportunity for a third-party operator for microgrids, and Monash’s pathway to developing a commercial model.

“As part of this project, we’ll be looking to identify the appropriate business model to roll microgrids out on a commercial basis, so that we can help integrate more renewables into the grid, and provide greater value to customers. We aim to target sites outside of the Clayton campus for further deployment in the near future,” Mr Ferraro said.

Monash microgrid reports can be downloaded from