UNSW is playing host to what it says is the first Tesla Powerpack batteries to be installed in an Australian university.
The Powerpack battery is the large commercial-scale version of the Tesla battery and can store 100kWh, while the smaller Tesla Powerwall, for domestic use, stores 13kWh.
Five of the Powerpack batteries – delivering 500kWh of storage – have been installed in UNSWs Old Main building, where there is also a 112kW rooftop solar system. The university says it will provide valuable data for students and the energy faculty to study and improve battery use.
TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano and UNSW Sydney’s Executive Director in Estate Management, Jeff Peers, were at the unveiling on Wednesday, and said it would allow the university to reduce demand during peak times, and cut power costs.
“This partnership with TransGrid gives UNSW a great opportunity for real-time study of how increasing levels of renewable energy generation in the electricity supply network can be managed by using distributed storage solutions,” Peers said in a statement.
UNSW academics will research novel ways to dispatch the battery using electricity load and weather forecasting tools, creating new algorithms to perform control functions for smart grid applications.
They will also look at models that can be used to study the potential for “value stacking” of batteries on the electricity grid – in other words, finding ways to unlock their capabilities and ensure they get reward.
TransGrid’s Italiano says large-scale batteries will play a significant role in the future of electricity network services.
“This trial with UNSW helps underpin the University’s efforts at achieving energy self-sufficiency, and also delivers benefits for the wider community through research knowledge gained and decreased peak demand on the electricity network.”
TransGrid says using battery storage can relieve stress on the transmission system during peak demand periods and help defer the need for new investment on the network.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of One Step Off The Grid, and also edits and founded Renew Economy and The Driven. He has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.
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