What is the digital grid?
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As the world shifts to renewables, we need to change our current one-way energy grid (power company to end user) to a fully controllable, digitised grid that anyone can contribute to and use.
DGFI connects and mobilises research and industry leaders to create technology that can benefit the global community.
Our researchers are rethinking and smoothing the transition to electric vehicles (EV), to be powered by multiple renewable energy sources.
This involves infrastructure development and city planning, understanding human behaviour, developing new technology and informing policy.
As the world becomes increasingly urbanised, the digital grid will bring together smart devices, distributed energy sources, transport and infrastructure to create smarter, greener cities, buildings and homes.
Integrated energy storage
Integrating and storing energy will be a crucial function of the digital grid. We are exploring ways to capture excess renewable energy, interconnect various energy sources, and balance supply with demand.
Our ‘digital twins’ lab is a digitised replica of Australia’s East Coast grid, which allows us to test new technology in real time. The only one of its kind in Australia, it helps design new buildings, model train stations and traffic flow, manage renewable energy sites and inform city planning.
To protect people from cyber-threats and attacks, the digital grid will require strong regulatory and cyber security protocols to be built into the network. Open yet secure connections will enable intelligent monitoring of energy and facilitate safe energy trading.
This kind of cyber infrastructure is essential to prepare the future workforce for a high-data world, ensuring they have the technical, legal and ethical knowledge necessary to be actively involved in global energy markets.
We work with partners to develop material and digital solutions, using augmented and virtual reality. These technologies help utility and service providers retrofit the existing grid to allow feeding of renewable and distributed energy sources – and make sure the grid is robust enough to cater for surges in demand.
This approach allows for these systems to be remotely monitored, enabling intelligent switching between energy sources, for a seamless and uninterrupted supply.
Current policy and regulations are lagging behind advances in technology. We work with partners to understand the legal and political frameworks needed to encourage behavioural change and ensure the digital grid is secure, sustainable and affordable.