$6m Ergon facility to shape the future of energy

Ergon Energy Manager Intelligent Grid New Technology Michelle Taylor in the Microgrid and Isolated Systems Test (MIST) Facility.
Manager Intelligent Grid New Technology Michelle Taylor in the Microgrid and Isolated Systems Test (MIST) Facility

Ergon Energy’s cutting-edge $6 million facility that will help guide Queensland’s transition to a lower carbon, lower cost energy future is open for business in Cairns.

Ergon Energy manager intelligent grid new technology Michelle Taylor said the Microgrid and Isolated Systems Test (MIST) Facility would play a key role in advancing renewables and the successful integration of new technology into the electricity network.

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“Cairns is now home to one of the most sophisticated research and development hubs of its kind in Australia, with state-of-the-art technology and the technical expertise to do complex testing of community-scale solar and batteries, microgrids and standalone power systems,” she said.

“This is a world-class facility with potential benefits for everyone in the power supply chain, from electricity distribution networks and product developers to the end users and academic researchers.

“Queenslanders have led the renewable energy revolution and we’re excited to see what the industry’s leading lights can achieve next.”

Through their pioneering work over a decade in the much smaller Innovation Lab, the Ergon Energy team has played a leading role in the development of national standards for residential solar PV systems and batteries.

Ergon Energy principal engineer technology innovation Alan Louis said they’re now armed with the tools to think even bigger.

With a super-computer for real time digital simulation and a large array of connection options, the MIST Facility is capable of complex testing of large-scale systems of up to one megawatt.

“Testing technology in simulated conditions before you deploy it saves times and money, especially when we’re talking about remote communities where we want to integrate more renewables to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels for financial and environmental reasons,” Louis said.

“In this facility we can test the standard diesel generating sets that are part of our traditional isolated networks and improve interactions with solar installations and battery storage systems.  

“As the world moves away from fossil fuels and embraces alternative energy solutions, we’re working to ensure Queenslanders stay ahead of the curve.

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“With a facility of this calibre, we can prepare customers, communities and our workforce for the future, support regional development and build on our relationships with local academic institutions, like James Cook University and Central Queensland University.”

The Spence Street facility was designed by local architect firm Clarke and Prince with electrical consultants, Aurecon, and constructed by local contractors, Osborne Construction Solutions and Babinda Electrics.  

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