Monash launches futuristic testing ground for energy sector

Monash University has officially launched its futuristic Grid Innovation Hub.

The hub, a three-year program receiving around $6.6 million in funding, has been set up to foster a collaborative industry partnership approach towards a secure, affordable, smart, reliable and environmentally responsible energy sector.

The hub partners will be working together to address critical challenges through thought leadership, innovative research, education and industry training programs.

Monash University president and vice-chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO said the Grid Innovation Hub was vital for advancing Australia’s leadership in energy innovation.

“The challenges facing Australia’s energy sector are growing increasingly complex. The Monash Grid Innovation Hub combines cutting edge research and industry expertise to solve them,” Professor Gardner said.

“The capabilities of the Grid Innovation Hub for collaborative research and training are truly world class, enabling the university to model and test energy solutions that are transferable worldwide.”

The hub features a Future Control Room equipped with specialist software to view, control and manage big data, distributed energy systems and network security.

It compliments Monash University’s Victorian grid-connected microgrid designed to demonstrate new technologies and ways to manage electricity.

The control room combined with the Monash microgrid enables a living laboratory for the hub partners to innovate new solutions while training the next generation of professionals.

Director of Monash Energy Materials and Systems Institute (MEMSI) Associate Professor Jacek Jasieniak said it would provide technical leadership and policy advice to the energy sector while equipping future professionals with new skills.

“In 2016, the Climate Council of Australia reported that 28,000 new jobs were required for Australia to obtain 50 per cent renewable electricity,” Associate Professor Jasieniak said.

“We live in an era facing unprecedented energy challenges that require greater collaboration and innovation than ever before.”

By the year 2030, Monash University expects all the energy used on its campuses will be clean and renewable.