Australian energy company Ausgrid (formerly known as EnergyAustralia) has begun its roll-out of diagnostic sensors across its energy grid in NSW's Central Coast.
Over 350 smart sensors have been installed in small substations across the Central Coast, with 1700 more being installed across the region over the next two years.
Ausgrid, the utility formally known as EnergyAustralia. (Credit: AusGrid)
"We're investing more than $600 million in the electricity network on the Central Coast. It's driven by the need to replace electrical infrastructure and meet increasing demand for power," said Ausgrid manager (Smart Grid) Adrian Clark.
"We're building a world-leading smart network — on the Central Coast," he said.
According to Clark, 110km of fibre optic cable has also been rolled out, and will be used as information links between the 15 larger zone substations in the region.
The grid will be supported by a wireless communications network that collects data from the sensors that is then sent back to a central control centre.
"This technology means expert crews can monitor the performance of the Central Coast every minute," said Clarke.
Powering Newcastle and Scone
Today Ausgrid inked a deal with energy storage technology company Redflow to install and maintain battery systems for its $100m "Smart Grid, Smart City" project.
Redflow will be providing 5 kilowatt zinc-bromine batteries that will be installed in outside units near household meter boards. The units will include a battery and inverter as well as control and communications systems. According to Ausgrid, the battery will be the size of a slim-line fridge.
"We will create a micro-grid in Scone, making part of the area self-sufficient during outage trials and any unplanned interruptions caused by storms or other events," said Ausgrid energy efficiency expert Paul Myors in a statement today.
According to Ausgrid, homes on the micro-grid can be powered independently of the electricity network using battery storage and other energy generation added to the grid, including wind and solar.
"We're testing whether energy storage technology can make the electricity supply more reliable and give customers greater control over their household energy use," he said, explaining that it would help Ausgrid understand the technical impacts of adding battery storage to the grid.
The battery units will be fitted into sixty households in Newcastle and Scone in NSW for a two-year trial. These locations were chosen because they represent urban and rural areas in Australia that could benefit from the trial.