Deakin University is partnering with AusNet Services and Mondo to develop an industrial-scale microgrid energy system to provide an integrated research and education platform, and contribute to the university’s sustainability goals.
Deakin Vice-Chancellor Jane den Hollander, AusNet Managing Director Nino Ficca and Mondo Executive General Manager Chad Hymas officially turned the first sod on a $30 million renewable energy microgrid to power the university’s Waurn Ponds campus, near Geelong, in late January.
The project includes a 14.5 hectare solar energy farm with a one megawatt central battery as well as rooftop solar panels and smaller batteries across the campus, and is scheduled for completion late this year. Construction is being undertaken by Victorian companies, resulting in local employment that will raise workers’ skill levels in globally relevant jobs.
Professor den Hollander says the partnership will enable the university to reduce its carbon footprint, and help build Deakin's and AusNet’s capacities as leaders in the development of innovative energy systems.
“We are experiencing growing global need for research in innovative renewable energy systems, and the demands on energy networks are changing rapidly as technology and knowledge tries to keep up with the growing shift by industry, consumers and governments towards sustainable generation and distribution,” she said.
“This partnership gives Deakin an unparalleled opportunity to help drive the renewable energy revolution by providing unique opportunities for researchers to develop and test solutions at an industrial scale and train the next generation of energy professionals.
“The University will also be able to reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 12,000 tonnes per year and generate half of the Waurn Ponds campus’ energy needs on site, supporting Deakin’s aspiration to be carbon neutral by 2030.
“Deakin is passionate about supporting the communities we serve, working collaboratively with industry and relevant businesses as well as governments to drive forward solutions to the challenges we are all facing, and together with AusNet Services we’re looking forward to welcoming additional partners to increase our reach and impact through this innovative project.”
Ficca said: “The partnership between AusNet Services and Deakin University provides education and career pathways for those seeking to build, run and maintain the energy networks of the future. This microgrid project will not only provide clean, renewable energy but also a world-class learning and education hub.”
Hymas said: “Mondo, as AusNet Services’ commercial business, is committed to working with Deakin University and the people and businesses of the broader Geelong community to realise their renewable energy future. This microgrid will serve as a major demonstration of what is possible when ambition, technology and commitment come together to realise a brighter future.”