University of Canterbury research future-proofing NZ’s power supply

A team of researchers led by the University of Canterbury’s Electric Power Engineering Centre (UC EPECentre) has struck gold again, receiving our Gold Status for the second year running.

The GREEN Grid (Gathering Renewable Energy in Electricity Networks) research project, led by Associate Professor Alan Wood (previously led by Dr Allan Miller), focuses on modelling future trends in renewable electricity generation and household demand to ensure all New Zealanders have access to reliable, safe and affordable renewable energy.

“The research programme was established in 2012 to future-proof New Zealand’s electricity supply in the face of increasing renewable energy distributed generation and new technologies like electric vehicles and smart appliances in both supply and demand,” Associate Professor Wood says.

The programme is working with a wide range of end users across the industry and in Government to ensure that changes to the network and new management practices are applied consistently.

“The result will be an efficient, cost-effective and robust electricity network meeting New Zealand’s changing power supply and demand needs,” he says.

A major GREEN Grid achievement saw University of Canterbury (UC) researchers working alongside industry to develop a guide for a nationwide approach connecting solar power and other distributed energy systems to the national grid.

Electricity Engineers’ Association (EEA) Chief Executive Peter Berry has praised the research collaboration, which included electricity distribution companies Orion, Unison, Powerco, WEL Networks and others.

“This has been a real combined academia–industry project. Ten distribution companies have been involved in developing this guide as well as the regulator – the Electricity Authority – and Transpower, the national grid owner and operator,” Mr Berry says.

The programme has also helped educate the public with the energywiseTM solar calculator which was developed in partnership with the UC EPECentre and released by EECA (Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority).

The research team also delivered a detailed model of New Zealand’s wind generation resource including variability, and is about to release a reserves requirements model with a set of recommendations for a new set of ancillary services. This work has been done in conjunction with the New Zealand system operator Transpower.

The team includes researchers and postgraduate students from UC EPECentre, UC Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and University of Otago’s Centre for Sustainability (CSAFE).

Read more about the GREEN Grid project(external link).