Sub-project 1: Modelling

To inte­grate increas­ing amounts of renew­able ener­gy into the Alice Springs grid, inter­ven­tions are required to reduce ther­mal gen­er­a­tion (e.g. gas and diesel) while main­tain­ing the sta­bil­i­ty of the elec­tric­i­ty sys­tem. Mod­el­ling is a cru­cial step before sig­nif­i­cant changes are enact­ed, to opti­mise out­comes and avoid sys­tem fail­ures. Project Lead, Ekisti­ca, is work­ing with Project Part­ner RMIT to devel­op dynam­ic mod­els for this pur­pose. The dynam­ic mod­els will be a sim­pli­fied rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the real Alice Springs grid, sim­u­lat­ed in a com­put­er pro­gram, to describe how the sys­tem prop­er­ties may change over time (dynam­i­cal­ly). A major out­come will be tech­ni­cal rec­om­men­da­tions to achieve 50 per cent renew­able ener­gy by 2030 in Alice Springs. This will include mod­el­ling of zero ther­mal gen­er­a­tion dur­ing day­light hours and an Ekisti­ca-led wind resource study.

As well as under­stand­ing a shift­ing mix between renew­able and ther­mal gen­er­a­tion over time, the mod­els will con­sid­er the loca­tion of gen­er­a­tion; that is whether the new renew­able gen­er­a­tion is cen­tralised (com­mer­cial-scale) or dis­trib­uted (such as rooftop solar). Finan­cial and con­sumer behav­iour will also be account­ed for – fac­tors rarely includ­ed in tech­ni­cal mod­els, but expect­ed to have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on the future ener­gy mix. A behav­iour­al study, led by CSIRO, will inves­ti­gate what dri­ves peo­ple and com­pa­nies to invest in renew­able ener­gy tech­nol­o­gy. This study will be informed by local and nation­al trends towards uptake of rooftop solar, house­hold bat­ter­ies, elec­tric vehi­cles and smart devices for demand management.