University of Technology Sydney partner with TasNetworks, Redback Technology and API to explore how to deliver the energy needs of regional and remote Australia.

The supply of secure, reliable and affordable power in regional and remote parts of Australia is a challenge, with most communities currently relying on diesel generation, which emits large amounts of carbon emissions.

A new project, led by Dr Jahangir Hossain from the School of Electrical and Data Engineering in the UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT, will investigate whether establishing a microgrid, or upgrading existing off-grid technologies, would better meet the energy needs of regional and remote communities.

The project will centre on the Derwent Bridge community in Tasmania, and bring together power distribution utility TasNetworks, innovative clean energy company Redback Technology, and the renowned knowledge sharing institute API to understand, investigate and implement a feasible and resilient power supply option for Derwent Bridge and other communities.

Dr Hossain says the project will provide measurable economic, social, environmental and technical benefits.

“The main outcome is to provide a cost-effective and resilient power supply solution for the local businesses and communities while the associated negative effects from technical and economic perspective are either eliminated or minimised.

“The advanced mathematical optimisation models developed in this project will be capable of handling forecasting, operations and planning of microgrids in an integrated, novel and improved manner,” said Dr Hossain.

The Federal Government has awarded UTS and its three industry partners a $1.6 million grant from its Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund to kick off the project.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said regional and remote communities face unique energy challenges and the Federal Government is committed to ensuring they are not disadvantaged by unreliable and expensive energy.

“The Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund is all about shoring up the supply of secure, reliable and affordable energy for regional Australians and empowering communities to make the choices to best suit their energy needs,” Minister Taylor said.

Every Australian – no matter where they live – should be confident that they will have the power they need, when they need it and at an affordable price.

“Delivering reliable and affordable energy to regional and remote communities will provide them with greater economic security and help them grow and prosper.”

The Derwent Bridge microgrid will significantly contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions and help stimulate tourism in area.

The planning tools will also provide an innovative solution for reliable energy supply for remote communities in the event of natural disasters, during peak demand and localised blackouts.