The Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy will lead a project to increase renewable energy uptake through the development of microgrid technology.
Intyalheme, a flagship project of Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA), has been awarded $3.2m in grant funding from the Australian Government under the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund – Microgrids.
The project will address barriers that are limiting additional renewable energy from being added to the Alice Springs power system.
Using technical, economic and behavioural modelling, the project seeks to determine which short-term interventions will be needed to shore up existing grid stability as a first priority.
Beyond that, the regulatory and technical developments needed to support a higher proportion of renewable energy will be identified. The modelling will outline how the Alice Springs grid could operate without any thermal (conventional) power generation, even for a short period.
Other factors will be explored, such as working out the implications of disconnecting and reconnecting a microgrid into the main power system, and establishing who carries the liabilities for supply during periods of disconnection.
“This funding forms part of a broader plan to revolutionise the Alice Springs power system over the next two years,” said General Manager of the Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy, Glenn Marshall.
“The transition to a renewable energy future is upon us, and because Alice Springs is an isolated grid, we will be among the first to face the sort of grid stability challenges that are associated with a high proportion of renewable energy,” he said.
“Technology like microgrids, household batteries, and cloud forecasting will be crucial in the future energy system, so today’s announcement is terrific news as it ensures a firm path towards a clean and secure energy future for Alice Springs.”
Lessons learnt through the Alice Springs study will be applicable to other grids in the Northern Territory, and beyond.
The project will culminate in the development of a Roadmap to 2030 report, identifying the necessary steps to reach the NT renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030, in Alice Springs.
More information available here