TransGrid, the operator of one of Australia’s largest high-voltage transmission networks, has commenced work on a hybrid energy system known as iDemand.
The initiative, which is under way at TransGrid’s Western Sydney facility, is part of the company’s research and development into innovative ways to manage peak demand.
Information around the outcomes will be offered to research organisations and provide potential for market development in Australia, including the chance for businesses to retrofit areas of their work-sites with solar capacity.
As part of the project, solar panels on top of the site’s carpark will harness solar energy for immediate usage, while batteries will store energy during off-peak periods and discharge energy to the site during the day.
TransGrid manager of Network Support and Consultations Mal Coble said the expected savings will be the equivalent of taking almost 40 households off the grid on a typical summer’s weekday.
“Combined with the LED lighting, the total peak demand on site during summer periods is expected to reduce by up to
50 per cent as a result,” Mr Coble said.
“It’s important we practice what we preach. That’s why we are setting this up at our western Sydney headquarters.
“This is also about putting more information into the public domain about what demand management is and what it can offer. iDemand data and outcomes will be made available on TransGrid’s website.”
The primary system includes the installation of 400kW-hour capacity lithium polymer batteries and almost 100kW of solar panel capacity.
The infrastructure also includes an IT interface, an integrated hardware system that will provide opportunities for further collaborative research with universities. Real-time data displays linked to the TransGrid website will display the outputs from the solar panels and batteries on site and demonstrate the demand reductions achieved each day.
“We’ll be busy testing all the control regimes including the efficiency of all parts and that includes issues such as how the panels perform in the hottest conditions, if there is any drop-off in performances,” Mr Coble said.
In December, TransGrid claimed the top award in the Best Demand Response category of the Energy Efficiency Council Awards, after combining with EnerNOC last summer (the world’s largest demand response provider) to deliver a demand management project involving more than 80 sites across metropolitan Sydney, including some of the harbour city’s largest energy users.
Construction of the iDemand project is expected to be completed by September, with the data expected to be on display immediately.