Australia launches new microgrid centre of excellence

AUSTRALIA is set to become a global source of expertise in the research, development and construction of microgrids following the launch today of the Australian Microgrid Centre of Excellence (AMCOE).

Sally Bogle
WA-based facility will help coordinate know-how for export

WA-based facility will help coordinate know-how for export

The not-for-profit will be based in Murdoch University's Engineering Campus in recognition of the leading role that Western Australia is playing in testing and installing distributed energy resources for remote power supply. 

The centre will provide the resources necessary to research and develop reliable, economic and sustainable global energy solutions, serving as a coordination point for public, private and academic from Australia and internationally to address distributed or remote energy issues. 

"The establishment of AMCOE is an amazingly exciting step in the evolution of our domestic and international microgrid industry. It will serve as a catalyst to democratise the supply of energy, challenging the monopoly of supply and the inherent vulnerability that that model brings," co-founder Terry Mohn said.

Diversified, secure power supply

The rapid rise of rooftop solar, battery storage and energy management systems means microgrids are fast becoming a cost-effective and efficient means of providing reliable, flexible power to remote and decentralised parts of the energy system. 

Their value in providing stable, secure and agile sources of power has become increasingly apparent in the wake of severe weather events which have destroyed traditional grid-based power supplies. 

"With global climate change, what were previously viewed as once-in-a-century weather events are now becoming once-a-decade events, causing huge destruction and disruption to traditional power supply networks. Microgrids provide a real and more secure alternative," Mohn said.

The 2019 Federal Budget allocated $50 million to support feasibility studies into the way in which microgrids can help power regional and remote communities with AMCOE poised to tap more funding sources in the months ahead. A subsequent report by WA's Economics and Industry Standing Committee on the emergence and impact of microgrids and associated technologies has helped spur further research and investment in the sector. 

AMCOE will enable those involved in the microgrid sector to coordinate efforts across the industry's supply chain, a departure from the approach taken until now which has seen them operate in siloes. 

The new centre of excellence has the backing of close to 40 organisations, including Tesla Energy, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), Lithium Valley, Infranomics, Magellan Power, Dassault Systems, General Microgrids, Arnowa, Australia Ocean Energy Group, Regional Development Australia, Murdoch and Edith Cowan universities.

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