Description of field of research:

In the light of the fast-changing energy landscape, there are increasing levels of interest from both community groups and innovative businesses to understand how to implement community-scale batteries. Community batteries support the integration of renewable energy technologies (especially Photovoltaics-PV) and can provide various financial and environmental benefits. These projects can have different characteristics, for example, their size (which affects their grid connection requirements and ability to participate in different markets), their location (behind the meter or in front), the relative emphasis on different sources of revenue (customers using them as virtual storage, network support and spot market and frequency ancillary services markets), the 'offer' they make to customers as well as the different tariffs that may apply to the electricity they import and export. 

There have been limited real world installations and modelling practices for community batteries up to date and therefore, there is a need for an open-source community-scale battery model that can be used by a variety of community groups and innovative businesses to explore the various options that may be available to them.


Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering

Research areas

Energy storage | Community battery | Distributed energy resources | Renewable energy

The Taste of Research project builds on an existing project being funded through the ARC Research Hub for Integrated Energy Storage Solution at UNSW and implements a model for a community battery in Narrabri, NSW. The project has industry partners, Geni Energy, Enova and Energy Forever and focuses on a 1MW-1.5MW battery that would primarily service the needs of customers with excess solar by providing them with a virtual battery which can be used to store their solar exports for use in the evening. 

The research will be a desktop study and the student/s will work on the open-source modelling of the community battery via use of the Python programming language. The students will be collaborating with and learning from experienced data-scientists and researchers.

The candidate student/s are expected to have some prior knowledge of Python programming language and interest in developing open-source modelling. 

The expected outcome of the project includes a comprehensive project report which will summarize the outcomes of the carried research and the report will be shared with broader stakeholder groups such as energy companies, distribution network service providers and public. The outcomes of the research is expected support the investment opportunities for installing a community battery in Narrabri, NSW and the research may continue with the data that is collected from the real world implementation of a community-scale battery.

Another important research outcome is the open-source modelling tool which will allow a wide range of users to calculate financial and environmental benefits of a community battery in different regions and under different operational conditions.