Smart energy solutions in remote and regional Australia require understanding the complex challenges of providing affordable, accessible energy in the islanded grids outside urban Australia, and the microgrids of large mines, small settlements, offgrid pastoral interests and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Integrating renewables including battery storage is increasingly urgent, environmentally and financially, particularly in remote areas where the cost of fuel transport alone is prohibitive. Integrating renewables is also increasingly viable with the rapid escalations in technology capacity. Considerable knowledge and innovation already exists about the options for remote area power supplies, particularly in solar energy and particularly in Central Australia. But the knowledge is still diffused, spread across industries, institutes, and jurisdictions, and limited by inappropriate regulatory and financial regimes.
With the support of the Northern Territory Government, Desert Knowledge Australia is establishing a Centre for Future Energy in Alice Springs that will focus on solutions to remote and regional energy challenges using microgrids, edge of grid and off grid scenarios. Building on the strength of existing technology and knowledge, particularly in solar energy and the Desert Knowledge Solar Centre, testing new storage, and developing extensive knowledge sharing networks, the Centre for Future Energy will provide much needed knowledge generation for microgrid development across Australia.
3 key takeaways from this presentation:
1.Dealing with the complexity of energy supply in Remote and Regional Australia means generating smart energy solutions for microgrids with universal application.
2. Desert Knowledge Australia’s new Centre for Future Energy will be an important addition to knowledge sharing about the integration of renewables.
3. Rapid prototyping of grid, remote off grid and microgrid options in desert Australia provides much needed data on robustness new solar and storage technologies that is applicable anywhere.