UQ’s Tesla battery brings huge savings

UQ tesla

Installing the state’s largest behind-the-meter battery, a Tesla, has saved The University of Queensland almost $74,000 in electricity costs in three months.

UQ’s Sustainability and Energy division has reported the battery’s financial and technical performance in detail for its first quarter of operation.

UQ energy and sustainability manager Andrew Wilson said savings from the University’s solar panel installations had fully funded the $2.05 million, 1.1 megawatt Tesla Powerpack battery system.

“The first quarter performance shows it is on track to pay for itself within the eight years we forecast,” Mr Wilson said.

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The Tesla battery was a key step in allowing UQ to start trading directly in the national wholesale electricity “spot” market this year – becoming Australia’s first university to do so.

“We developed a custom-control algorithm for the battery that enables us to automatically buy and sell power, 24-hours a day,” Mr Wilson said.

“It charges our battery when clean energy is abundant and prices are low, and discharges when prices are high – often during the evening peak.

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“We have committed to publishing the battery’s detailed performance data so industry and researchers can learn from our experiences.”

UQ’s energy transition strategy began more than a decade ago.

The commissioning of the $125 million, 64-megawatt Warwick Solar Farm this year will complete UQ’s transition into an energy market player that is both a large energy generator and consumer, known as a “gensumer”.

UQ’s Chair in Sustainable Energy Futures, Professor Peta Ashworth, said the University’s operational moves into renewable energy gave students unparalleled opportunity to learn from and study with the University’s own infrastructure.

“There is no better place to learn about the future of energy than at UQ, as the whole world looks to chart a path to the new ways we will supply and manage electricity,” said Professor Ashworth, who leads the Master of Sustainable Energy program.