Two beta-version open source modelling tools have been developed by UNSW researchers for (i) embedded networks in multi-unit dwellings and (ii) local mini grids within the distribution network. These tools are now being used by researchers in partnership with a number of industry stakeholders, albeit in a fairly limited manner. There is an opportunity to greatly expand end-user utilisation by extending and refining these tools in order to:
- better take into consideration the needs of the potentially wide range of stakeholders involved in such energy consumer options (in terms of the model’s functionality),
- add a range of features that seem likely to become more important in the future, for example improved incorporation of energy storage into the tools
- provide more user-friendly user interfaces for stakeholders without their having to learn how to use the existing, researcher oriented, UI or the open source code
- offer training for stakeholders to use the tools and, for those interested to do so, assist in further developing them within the open-source code framework that is established.
The overall objective of this project is increased uptake of renewable energy generation and other distributed clean energy technologies by multi-unit dwellings (embedded networks) and in local distribution networks. This will deliver lower greenhouse emissions from the electricity sector in Australia, while supporting community-led engagement in lower carbon living.
The multi-unit dwelling model analyses electricity generation and distribution under different technical and ownership arrangements of PV and batteries (individual household / shared behind the meter / embedded network) for different internal loads, and the resultant financial flows amongst the occupants. The model will be extended to include communities in townhouses and detached dwellings. The mini grid model also allows different technical arrangements. The key point of difference between the models, is that in (ii) mini grid model the network is owned by the network service provider; which has implications for tariffs and financial flows. Both allow the use of different (internal and external) tariffs, and so allow optimisation of PV and batteries to maximise renewable energy generation and reduce bill costs.