New lab to help drive Australia's low carbon energy future

Wednesday 4 September 2019
Dr Bjorn Sturmberg will lead the new Distributive Energy Resources Lab. Photo: Jamie Kidston

Australia's low carbon energy system of tomorrow will be given a vital spark thanks to a new million-dollar laboratory to be built at The Australian National University (ANU).

The Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Lab is officially announced by Minister Mick Gentleman today and comes with $1.5 million in ACT Government funding.

Dr Bjorn Sturmberg, who will lead the DER Lab, said it will provide a state-of-the art testing facility which mirrors the energy grid for industry, researchers and regulators.

"This lab will help develop and test the technologies and control systems needed for Australia's future energy system," Dr Sturmberg said.

"The DER Lab will provide the Australian research and development community with a fail-safe power system in which to rapidly, efficiently, and securely develop and test the technologies and systems before deploying them.

"The technologies developed in the DER Lab will lower consumers' energy bills and create the secure, reliable and low-carbon energy system of tomorrow." 

The facility builds on the capabilities of The Australian National University's Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program, led by Dr Lachlan Blackhall.

"The DER Lab is a great example of how industry, academia and government can work closely together to achieve important outcomes on a national scale," Dr Blackhall said.

"Australia's electricity system is undergoing its most significant transformation in a century - moving away from a centralised system based a small number of large generators to one that is distributed, decarbonized and digitised.

"Navigating our energy system through such a transition is challenging, particularly if the only way to test new technologies is in the live grid and often in the homes of people."

ANU Provost Professor Mike Calford thanked Minister Gentleman and the ACT Government for their major investment.

"The DER Lab will extend the ACT's leadership in accelerating Australia's renewable energy economy and industry, and help set up Canberra as the epicentre for this increasingly important field," Professor Calford said.

"The DER Lab will not only develop solutions that renew our energy industry and use - it will help make a major difference to the lives of all Australians and safeguard our environment.

"It will bring jobs to the local economy and create a vibrant, shared space for the next-generation of energy R&D.

"I applaud the ACT Government and Minister Gentleman for their vision. ANU stands ready to help drive this vision."

View the original ANU media release here.

Updated:  18 September 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director, Energy Change Institute/Page Contact:  Webmaster