Industry collaboration promotes smart electricity networks.

Electricity grids of the future are set to benefit from an $800,000 research partnership signed by University of Wollongong (UOW) and Endeavour Energy to continue UOW’s engineering teaching, research and development activities aimed at strengthening industry capability in electrical power engineering.

The latest agreement extends the research partnership between the Australian Power Quality and Reliability Centre (APQRC) and Endeavour Energy to an historic 23 years of continuous support, setting a record for a long-term sustained and productive relationship between industry and the University.

Since 1996 APQRC has taught, researched and developed the field of electrical power engineering and has become an internationally recognised centre of expertise, particularly in the area of power quality.

The Centre has a world-class research laboratory in the University’s SMART Infrastructure Facility that enables it to provide research and development that will underpin developments in future electricity networks, or smart grids.

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APQRC Technical Director Professor Sarath Perera said the long-standing relationship has provided extensive, ongoing benefits to the electricity industry and its customers in the management and compliance of their electricity networks.

“APQRC works in areas that ensure the quality of the electricity supply provided to customers is fit for purpose – it is like any other product you buy from a shop which comes with detailed specifications,” Professor Perera said.

“There are certain imperfections of the electricity supply which can lead to short and long-term impacts, such as reduced life time, shutdowns and malfunctioning of equipment and electrical goods.

“Now that the network is being integrated with many customer and utility-owned renewable energy sources there are emerging new challenges we work on.

“Future networks will have large volumes of domestic customer-owned energy generating sources and energy storage systems – such as batteries – there are new challenges that need to be tackled by the electricity network owners and operators.”

Endeavour Energy’s General Manager Asset Management Ty Christopher said the company was proud of its ongoing association with UOW.

“We’re proud to partner with the University of Wollongong to improve power quality and invest in electrical engineering, particularly as the industry dramatically transforms and customers exercise greater control of their energy choices.”

The funding is also a boost for the APQRC’s efforts to engage in the professional development of electrical power engineers and technical staff, as well as supporting the training and education of undergraduate students who have a desire to take up a career in electrical engineering.

As part of the latest agreement, some of the funding will be used to employ a full-time senior academic in the School of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering as well as provide a scholarship aimed at encouraging high-calibre electrical engineering students to undertake postgraduate studies leading to careers in power engineering.

Originally published by UOW Newsroom.