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Scalability key to cost-effective utility solutions, says Enwave Australia

CEO outlines design approach in custom-tailored District Energy scheme; highlights value of upfront engagement

| | Sep 24, 2018 | 10:41 am
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Adelaide, Australia, 24 September 2018: Enwave Energy, a subsidy of Enwave Australia, has recently won a bid to develop an energy production and trading scheme for the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide. Cameron Evans, CEO, Enwave Australia, elaborated on how the project is in line with the company’s commitment to reduce cost and provide reliable, renewable and sustainable energy supplies. Following the closure of key manufacturing businesses, in particular the Mitsubishi assembly factory, Evans said the government in South Australia aimed to create an innovation district to attract businesses with a technology focus, educational facilities and residential housing. “We see that utilities are a key part in the vision of having an innovative site,” he said. “We were engaged to develop what we consider to be an innovative approach to providing utilities.”

As a result, Evans said, Enwave designed a system that provides electricity, thermal energy, gas and recycled water to commercial businesses and residential developments, established in the area. “Scalability is a key part of it,” he said. “The district is in a development stage, with a number of businesses looking to move into the precinct. We had to work alongside both residential and commercial developers to understand their plans and requirements. As the business district grows, our system needs to cater to the people’s needs, so scalability is important.” Evans said the company will install about 20,000 solar panels, for everyone to benefit from a local solar energy supply. Evans said they are able to build up the capacity of the system as demand grows, and that providing additional generation and storage are looked at as ways to optimise energy supply. “The reason why we have gone down this path of pursuing a scalable approach is because it helps in terms of the capital we spend,” he said. “If we don’t have to spend capital up front, we can offer a more cost-effective solution to customers in the precinct.”

Evans said the system also offers increased reliability. “About a year ago there were severe black outs in the state of South Australia, due to large storms, which damaged the transmission infrastructure of the electricity grid,” he explained. “What we have done to combat this in the future, is provide the site with its own generation and storage. We insulate the development from reliance on one source of energy. ” Eventually, Evans said, the project will house 2,000 individual homes, businesses and universities as part of the overarching scheme.

Evans added that the company was committed to providing energy to cost-sensitive connected customers at a competitive price, especially with recent substantial increases in electricity and gas prices. “We have committed to making sure that there are discounts with the cost of energy supplied to customers and the combination of grid and on-site generation ensures we provide a cost-effective solution,” he said.  In addition to providing electricity, Evans said, the company is providing thermal energy for District Cooling and heating. “For the chilled water we are intending to provide a District Cooling system using chilled water,” he said. “We are also proposing to implement smart city infrastructure to provide additional amenities and convenience to the precinct.”

Evans said he believes there is great scope for similar schemes in other parts of the world. “Generally, where there is a degree of energy intensity, such as cooling, there is great scope to provide an economic District Cooling system,” he said. “The challenge is bringing the smarts as to how it is designed and operated and to create savings that can be passed on to customers.”

Collaboration, Evans said, remains critical and design is continuous. “This really has been a true partnership with the government and we worked closely to understand what they wanted to create in the first instance and also to ensure we had a good understanding of how the development is working,” he said. “The state government is responsible for selling the land and we need to know what it is thinking.” Evans added that the state government played a vital role in engaging developers that were going to be connected to the scheme, providing a clear idea of the business they aimed to bring, stressing that upfront engagement has been important for a successful outcome.


Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at hannah@cpi-industry.com

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