A new industrial-scale energy microgrid is being developed by Deakin University in partnership with AusNet Services and Mondo to meet the energy needs of the University’s Waurn Ponds Campus.

Last week, Deakin vice-chancellor professor Jane den Hollander joined AusNet Services managing director Nino Ficca and Mondo executive general manager Chad Hymas to officially turn the first sod on the project. Construction on the microgrid will be undertaken by Victorian companies and completed later this year.

The $30-million renewable energy microgrid will provide an integrated research and education platform, and contribute to the University’s sustainability goals.

The microgrid energy system will comprise of a 14.5-hectare solar energy farm with a one-megawatt central battery and will integrate rooftop solar panels and smaller batteries across the campus.

According to den Hollander, the partnership with AusNet Services would help build Deakin's and the energy provider's capacities as leaders in the development of innovative energy systems, while also enabling the University to reduce its carbon footprint and support its aspiration to be carbon neutral by 2030.

“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.

“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.”

Deakin University will be able to reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 12,000 tonnes per year and generate half of the energy needs of the Waurn Ponds campus onsite.

Ficca says, “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.”

AusNet Services is Victoria’s largest energy delivery service business owning and operating over $11 billion of electricity and gas transmission and distribution assets. Mondo Power is an independent subsidiary of AusNet Services and provides a comprehensive range of services for essential infrastructure.