Sub-project 2: Commercial Microgrid

Pri­vate­ly oper­at­ed, renew­able ener­gy micro­grids may play an impor­tant role in future grids. A key fea­ture of a micro­grid is the abil­i­ty to oper­ate inde­pen­dent­ly from the main grid and to poten­tial­ly island’ for peri­ods of time. Island­ing may be a response to eco­nom­ic or oper­a­tional con­di­tions. Grid-con­nect­ed micro­grids based on renew­able ener­gy are not com­mon in reg­u­lat­ed net­works. The stan­dards and reg­u­la­tions for these sys­tems are under devel­op­ment, at a nation­al lev­el. Sites that typ­i­cal­ly ben­e­fit from the abil­i­ty to island involve crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture, such as hos­pi­tals and data centres.

The case for a com­mer­cial micro­grid is less under­stood. How­ev­er, such a micro­grid could be based on known tech­ni­cal designs. This sub-project will sup­port the instal­la­tion of a com­mer­cial micro­grid at a site with mul­ti­ple ten­ants and cus­tomers. The micro­grid own­er will lead the devel­op­ment of this project. A pre-fea­si­bil­i­ty study has been under­tak­en by Ekisti­ca for two sites in Alice Springs. 

This sub-project seeks to deter­mine how the micro­grid own­er can man­age cus­tomer and ten­ant con­tracts regard­ing the pro­vi­sion of ener­gy; and under­stand lia­bil­i­ties for sup­ply dur­ing peri­ods of dis­con­nec­tion from the net­work. Cus­tomer ben­e­fits will also be inves­ti­gat­ed, as well as their tol­er­ance to island­ing events and any dis­rup­tions to sup­ply. Reg­u­la­to­ry bar­ri­ers to the wider imple­men­ta­tion of micro­grids in the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry will be iden­ti­fied, as will the rela­tion­ship with Sys­tem Con­trol and its abil­i­ty to dis­patch’ the com­mer­cial microgrid.