CSIRO launches ‘Future Grid’ research collaboration


Professor Tony
Vassallo, University
of Sydney
Clayton, Australia — (METERING.COM) — June 26, 2013 – Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has recently launched the Future Grid cluster to develop the nation’s capacity to plan and design the most efficient, low emission future electricity grid.

The three-year, A$13 million (US$12 million) research collaboration brings together CSIRO with four leading Australian universities – University of Sydney, University of Newcastle, University of Queensland and University of New South Wales.

“Each university will contribute specialist knowledge and expertise and will work with CSIRO to develop a new suite of tools to understand, develop and optimize energy grids of the future,” explained the leader of the research program, University of Sydney’s Professor Tony Vassallo. “This will assist decision makers in their choices about future grid development.”

In Australia today, 92 percent of electricity is derived from coal and gas. However, some future scenarios project an even 50:50 split of renewable energy sources, with the coal and gas power stations using carbon capture and storage technologies, dramatically decreasing the carbon emissions to near zero. Approximately A$240 billion is expected to be spent over the next 30 years on this transformation.

The cluster will draw together engineering, economic and policy aspects of grid development and optimization, with four major areas to be covered in the research:

  • Improved understanding of impacts of different loads, generation sources and energy storage on system security, led by University of Sydney
  • Planning and co-optimization of electricity and gas networks, led by University of Newcastle
  • Economics of alternative network development paths and estimates of total cost and price impacts, led by University of Queensland
  • Policy measures and regulatory changes to facilitate a smooth transition to a decarbonized future grid, led by University of NSW.

The Future Grid cluster is supported by A$10 million worth of in-kind contribution from the university partners and an A$3.2 million grant from the CSIRO Flagship Collaboration Fund.

The program will build on CSIRO’s broad electricity sector and energy management work, including the industry-led Future Grid Forum that was initiated last year to evaluate whole-of-system options for Australia’s future electricity system.