More renewable technology will be able to be integrated into Australia's energy grid, thanks to a new state-of-the-art laboratory in Canberra.
The Australian National University's Distributed Energy Resources Lab, which was opened on Tuesday, will allow for researchers, energy companies and start-ups in the industry to test their technology in real-world settings before they become built in to the broader energy grid.
The laboratory has been a project more than two years in the making, with more than $1.5 million in funding provided by the ACT government.
Technologies such as battery storage systems, solar, wind and electric vehicles would be put through their paces at the lab.
Australian National University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said the lab would help the country's energy grid to become more sustainable and renewable in years to come.
"This has been something that has been in the making for several years, and it's exciting to see the newest, high-tech facility finished. [It will allow] us to go through and chart a new future," Professor Schmidt said.
"This lab will help Australia drive towards a low-emissions society."
The Distributed Energy Resources Lab is set up as a smaller version of real-world electricity grids, allowing researchers to test their technology through a range of scenarios such as power failures, surges or even natural disasters like bushfires.
Speaking at the lab's opening, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the new centre would provide a chance for collaboration between governments, researchers and industry groups.
"This is a remarkable resource to have here in Canberra, not many other cities of 450,000 people around the world would have this sort of research and development to put together a network of world-leading thinkers and researchers and innovators," he said.
"One would also hope [the lab] would also inform the federal government, and I still retain the hope of an eventual realisation of the direction that is being led by universities and research institutes and state and territory governments."
Among the first projects being worked on at the lab is research into how electric vehicles could be used to supply the electricity grid.
Work has also been undertaken to allow companies and research groups from interstate and overseas to access the facilities.
The laboratory is a collaboration between ANU and UNSW Canberra, along with consultancy group ITP Renewables.
ITP project engineer Susan Dedman said the lab had lots of potential.
"There's a huge range that can be done here, and we can not only test different devices on the energy grid, but also the devices themselves," she said.
"There's also the academic potential for people to see how networks would be able to react to different devices."
ANU battery storage and grid integration research leader Dr Bjorn Sturmberg said the lab would go a long way towards helping with efforts to decarbonise Australia's energy mix.
"There's a lot of new technology on the market in Australia, and the lab can be a launching pad," he said.
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