A locally developed renewables integration solution that will fast-track the connection of large-scale solar and wind projects to Victoria’s distribution network has been awarded $142,000 under the second round of the state Labor government’s $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund.
Melbourne-based solar engineering company Clean Technology Partners won the grant for its ‘e-cube’ technology, a standardised grid connection solution for large-scale solar and wind farms that it is developing as part of a $570,000 project with energy giant Siemens.
According to a statement released on Monday by energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio, the e-cube will suit a range of system sizes, connection types, and network requirements, allowing solar and wind projects to easily connect to the Victorian electricity distribution network, as the state works towards its target of 40 per cent renewables by 2025.
The project is also expected to create up to 10 ongoing full-time jobs and up to a further 20 indirect employment opportunities.
“This project is a fantastic example of how our New Energy Jobs Fund is creating more jobs and improving renewable energy capabilities,” said D’Ambrosio on Monday.
“Renewables are the future of our energy generation and through initiatives like this we’re making it easier to connect solar and wind projects of all sizes to the electricity grid.”
“Easier connection points will further support the uptake of solar and wind projects.”
Clean Technology Partners’ innovative approach to solar installations was put on show recently in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy, when it teamed up with a local design outfit and US inverter giant Enphase Energy to build a sculptural solar playground, combining PV panels and old coal plant parts.
As well as installing countless commercial solar systems around the state, CTP was also involved in the construction of German outfit Belectric’s first Australian solar farm – a 3.2MW system near Mildura, which was completed in 2014.
And in Brisbane, locally-based outfit, NOJA Power, has won a $5 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to develop “smart switchgear” that will help maintain stability of the electricity grid.
Once developed, the switchgear technology will be tested at “high renewable penetration” locations across the distribution networks of Queensland and Victoria, to help maintain frequency at 50 hertz which is critical for system strength and security.
The technology will also provide detailed, real-time snapshots of electrical flows, providing ARENA and the Australian Energy Market Operator with significantly better data than is currently available.
This data will then be used by ARENA, AEMO and energy network businesses to develop better-informed system planning and real-time operations.
NOJA Power is collaborating with AEMO, Deakin University, the University of Queensland, Energy Queensland and AusNet on the project.