An Australian-first research centre will help electricity networks become greener and more efficient by maximising the benefits of smart grid intelligent electricity networks.
The Centre of Intelligent Electricity Networks (CIEN) is built on a five-year collaboration between the University of Newcastle, the University of Sydney and Ausgrid.
Chair of CIEN, Professor Joe Dong from the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment at the University of Newcastle, said a key focus for the Centre was developing smart grids to best handle the renewable energy boom.
“Australia is moving from a century-old network built for a one-way supply of electricity to an intelligent system that can manage the two-way movement of energy,” Professor Dong said.
“CIEN is helping Ausgrid ensure smart grid systems are developed to best manage the rapidly expanding supply of renewable energy being fed into the grid by households.”
Network efficiency will be further developed through dynamic line ratings, which will see the capacity of infrastructure automatically monitored and adjusted around the clock.
“This change to the way power is delivered will mean we get the most out of the network. Overhead and underground cables will all be working at optimised levels to prolong the life of the asset,” Professor Dong said.
Efficiency improvements will optimise the use of electricity assets and schedule maintenance only when it is needed.
“With smart grid technology, engineers can instantly identify power outages down to individual homes. We are helping to develop the system not only to identify faults but also to automatically repair itself,” Professor Dong said.
Professor Dong also works within the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources at the University of Newcastle.