AusNet Services' Mooroolbark Mini Grid trial wins innovation award 

19 July 2017

An AusNet project that’s providing an insight into how new energy technologies may be used to improve the security, reliability and affordability of electricity for communities in the future has been named a joint winner of the Clean Energy Council's Innovation Award.

The award, announced last night, recognised the design and development of a clean energy project, product or solution. 

The Mooroolbark Mini Grid trial, which has successfully separated and reintegrated a group of homes from the electricity grid with the use of solar panels and batteries, shared the award with Horizon Power.

AusNet has worked with local partners GreenSync and Power Technology Engineered Solutions during the trial.

Executive General Manager, Regulated Energy Services, Alistair Parker welcomed the award and congratulated joint winner Horizon Power.

"We are honoured our Mooroolbark Mini Grid trial has been recognised by the Clean Energy Council for its innovation," Mr Parker said.

"The changes we are seeing across the energy sector are allowing us to be more creative and innovative in how we use the electricity network for the benefit of customers.”

Mr Parker said the mini grid could change how communities used electricity in the future.

"When we began this trial, we knew what we wanted to achieve but it was about finding ways to make it happen,” Mr Parker said.

“I’m proud of the team and their ability to find solutions for this complex trial. With innovative thinking, persistence and problem solving, we have achieved some major milestones that could have a positive impact on delivering more reliable and secure energy as more renewable energy is introduced into the network.

“Solar panels and batteries are expensive and not everyone can afford them, but with the mini grid we are trialling, we’ve shown that not everyone will need this technology to benefit.”

The trial involves 14 homes in Melbourne's outer east, with a series of scenarios being conducted to provide an understanding of how renewable and community energy projects can be efficiently integrated into the network and how the electricity grid can benefit from localised energy generation. 

Testing so far has focussed on managing the high levels of solar power within the mini grid, assessing customer benefits and exploring how mini grid technology can improve customer reliability by providing power during network outages.

AusNet is Victoria’s largest energy delivery service business, owning and operating over $11 billion of electricity and gas transmission and distribution assets and moves energy across Victoria to more than 1.3 million residential and business customers.

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