The Narara Ecovillage Smart Grid project aims to balance the energy generation, consumption and storage in a new development, initially of 50 houses. Smart grid technology will be used to monitor loads, determine usage patterns, particularly peak load periods, and forecasting weather events, especially those affecting renewable energy generation. The smart grid technologies will also co-ordinate the connection to the NSW grid for the village.
Community title developments like Narara Ecovillage, offer opportunities for owners to manage their local generation and electricity network to pool solar PV output and storage resources in ways that are more difficult in other types of developments.
The smart grid design will allow Narara’s network operator, NEV Power Ltd to derive greater benefit from these resources, including integrating green building and home energy monitoring systems, potable water supply and on-site waste water treatment.
This points the way for community groups, retirement villages and other community title developments to increase the value of their renewable technology by optimising the use of generation, storage and load distribution.
NEV Power will use a ‘smart grid’ control system to intelligently balance the community’s energy generation, consumption and storage, while using an innovative two-way smartgrid transformer to connect to the NSW grid.
It will demonstrate that costs can be significantly reduced, compared to a standard grid solution, by eliminating the need for one substation out of two on-site. As the market develops over time, the benefits of this village model can be extended to virtual power generators located in the same district and beyond.
50 new homes will be connected to the microgrid. The microgrid will include:
- 471kW of solar PV
- 460kWh of energy storage
- Integrated demand side management and control systems.
The Narara Ecovillage Smart Grid project will collect data relating to social impacts, resident behaviour, and the interaction of the microgrid with the NSW electricity network.
This grant will help Narara Ecovillage become a world-leading carbon-neutral sustainable living centre that integrates and maximises renewable energy use and new energy storage technologies.
NEV Power will conduct surveys and publicly share aggregated household data, including key insights to overcoming barriers for micro-grids with high concentrations of renewables. This will help to build capacity for finance options, design, construction, and operations of these ‘smart grids’ within Australia.
Narara Ecovillage and the smart grid will be a source of local jobs in new renewable technology. It has the potential to inform investors, industry bodies, policy makers and regulators, while also educating industry and community energy groups.
Read more about hybrid technologies.