Neighbourhood Battery Initiative (NBI) – comparison of methods for supporting high penetration of electric vehicles and solar PV in the suburbs



Australia’s energy markets are in a period of rapid change, driven by the growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) like renewable energy generation and energy storage technologies. As decarbonisation of Australia’s electricity grid continues, these changes will have a large impact on the network, introducing complexity and challenges regarding supply-demand, load balance, and power flows from distribution systems to the central transmission system. Neighbourhood, or community-scale, batteries (~1-5MW) present an opportunity to mitigate these challenges, deferring the need for network upgrades by providing local energy storage and distribution. Using the shared battery, communities can store energy from their rooftop solar PV, allowing for increased solar PV energy generation (hosting capacity), lower energy costs, and greater energy equity across solar and non-solar energy users.

To determine the potential for neighbourhood batteries to increase hosting capacity, their use needs to be considered against alternate network options. One alternative option is the use of operating envelopes which provide upper and lower bounds on the import or export power in a given time interval for a DER. In doing so, operating envelopes can increase the amount of DER that can be installed and operated in a distribution network without breaching physical or operational limits, removing the need for local energy storage. This project would entail modelling the increased hosting capacity potential that operating envelopes could allow versus estimates for that achieved through use of a neighbourhood battery.

The research outcomes of this project will contribute to the work being conducted for the NBI. The NBI addresses the need for data-driven evidence about the impacts of neighbourhood batteries on decarbonisation, prices and economics, access and equity, and hosting capacity for local renewables. In doing so, it seeks to provide guidance on models for optimisation of these criteria, producing the necessary impact, software, and integration tools to do so.


How to apply

To submit an expression of interest for this project, please email by Monday 14th February 2022 with the subject line: “Student Project EOI: Neighbourhood Battery Initiative (NBI).”

Your email must include all of the following for your application to be considered:

  • Academic transcript(s)
  • CV
  • 1/2-1 page written statement covering your project motivation and goals



Required skills

  • Completed coursework or equivalent experiencing in electronics engineering or renewable energy systems
  • Familiarity with energy systems modelling and data analysis, including use of Python or other programming languages
  • An interest in the project topic, as well as a broader interest in the work of the ANU BSGIP

Suggested skills

  • Completion of ENGN4625 Power Systems and Power Electronics or relevant experience
  • Familiarity with energy system datasets, including AEMO supply/demand data
  • An understanding of renewable energy technologies, energy storage, grid integration, the National Electricity Market (NEM), and/or decarbonisation pathways is desirable



Background Literature


Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing