The Australian Power Quality and Reliability Centre (APQRC) is pleased to report a number of recent funding successes. Headlining this is the award of a $675,000 project funded by the Energy Networks Association of Australia. This project, to be undertaken over an 18 month period, will examine methods that can be used to better control voltage levels in low voltage electricity networks. Better control of voltage levels allows better integration of renewable energy resources such as solar PV by reducing technical constraints. In this way, the project may also identify methods which will allow scope for higher levels of solar PV to be installed.The APQRC was also successful in securing a competitive tender to undertake commercial research examining the performance of household appliances at varying input voltage levels. If electricity network operators are able to supply households with a wider range of voltages this has the potential to defer costly network upgrades and also to maximise the capacity of networks to absorb distributed generation. The work, to be undertaken for Western Power, is expected to be completed by December this year.
The above two projects are evidence of how the APQRC is making a significant practical contribution to facilitating the transition of our electricity supply systems from centralised predominately fossil fuel sources to dispersed renewable energy. The projects are also contributing to active steps that may be able to be taken to manage the costs of electricity.