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Innovation hub addresses changing electricity needs

The electricity sector is changing rapidly due to the adoption of renewable energy technologies and the introduction of the smart grid. This transition is requiring new thinking in the way energy is generated, transported, traded and consumed.

The Monash Grid Innovation Hub has been set up to foster a collaborative industry partnership approach towards a secure, affordable, smart, reliable and environmentally responsible energy sector.

The hub partners will be working together to address critical challenges through thought leadership, innovative research, education and industry training programs.

The hub features a Future Control Room equipped with specialist software to view, control and manage big data, distributed energy systems and network security. It compliments Monash University’s Victorian grid connected microgrid designed to demonstrate new technologies and ways to manage electricity.

The control room combined with the Monash microgrid enables a living laboratory for the hub partners to innovate new solutions while training the next generation of professionals.

Director of Monash Energy Materials and Systems Institute (MEMSI) Associate Professor Jacek Jasieniak said it would provide technical leadership and policy advice to the energy sector while equipping future professionals with new skills.

“In 2016, the Climate Council of Australia reported that 28,000 new jobs were required for Australia to obtain 50 per cent renewable electricity,” Associate Professor Jasieniak said.

“We live in an era facing unprecedented energy challenges that require greater collaboration and innovation than ever before.”

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the Grid Innovation Hub was vital for advancing Australia’s leadership in energy innovation.

“The challenges facing Australia’s energy sector are growing increasingly complex. The Monash Grid Innovation Hub combines cutting edge research and industry expertise to solve them,” Professor Gardner said.

“The capabilities of the Grid Innovation Hub for collaborative research and training are truly world class, enabling the University to model and test energy solutions that are transferable worldwide.”

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, toured the control room today as part of the hub’s official launch at the University’s Clayton campus.

Speaking at the launch Professor Gardner acknowledged the ongoing support of the Victorian Government and their aligned approach toward developing new energy solutions.

The Grid Innovation Hub is a three-year program receiving around $6.6 million in funding.

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