After two years’ development, Monash University has completed its ambitious Microgrid Project, which stores solar energy in batteries for later use. The university plans to produce its own energy by 2020.
The on-site microgrid, at Monash’s Clayton campus, is a crucial step in the university’s strategy in eliminating its dependence on coal-fired energy sources. The microgrid can receive and store energy from various renewable energy sources, and control when and how the stored energy will be used. Therefore the normal demand and strain on the network during peak times can be reduced. Its additional benefit is potentially stabilising the wider Melbourne grid, making it more resilient.
Monash has been investing in on-site and off-site renewable energy generation, with the objective of ending natural gas appliances and replacing them with electric appliances by 2030, and ensuring that all of the energy consumed is from renewable sources.
In April this year, Monash announced a tender for a 10-year contract for a new large-scale solar or wind farm totalling 55GWh, which would meet 55% of its annual electricity demand. It is expected that the solar or wind farm would preferably be located in Victoria, but could be located elsewhere.
It was considered to be the largest tender for a large scale renewable installation by a non-government group in Australia.
With its “Net Zero Initiative”, Monash was the first Australian university to commit to an energy reduction target, leading the way on taking action on climate change.