The EPECentre is leading the GREEN Grid project to ensure that New Zealanders have access to reliable, safe, and affordable renewable energy. The six-year project is funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and includes active partnership with other New Zealand universities and the electricity industry.
This programme will use modelling of future trends in renewable electricity generation and household demand, together with in depth knowledge of electricity networks and power management, to ensure that New Zealanders have access to reliable, safe, and affordable renewable energy. New Zealand’s electricity network is fundamental to our daily activities and to our income generation. The reliability and quality of power supply, the safety of the electricity network, and the cost of power (as driven by peak demand) all need to be managed in balance with the different types and requirements of electricity generation and use. The research will take into account changing supply and demand and their effect on the electricity system, particularly regarding new options for supply of renewable energy from wind and photovoltaics. It will also take into account new forms of demand, such as electric vehicles and smart appliances.
The Smart Grid envisaged by the programme refers to an electricity network where power flows are managed responsively and according to the needs of the users. The Smart Grid will be able to temporally and spatially balance different types of supply and demand. A novel aspect, compared to today’s system is that management of demand will be part of the balancing solution where, currently, management of supply is the main tool used. In particular, household demand including electric vehicle charging will be a new tool, encouraging uptake of electric vehicles.
To develop a Smart Grid, the programme will work 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 uniformly. The result will be an efficient, cost-effective and robust electricity network meeting the ongoing and changing power supply and demand needs of New Zealanders.