Our Renewable Energy Integration Facility (REIF) demonstrates how electricity networks will work in the future and allows us to evaluate new grid technologies in a real-world development and testing environment.

The challenge

Integrating renewable energy into the grid

REIF control room at CSIRO's Newcastle site  ©CSIRO, John Marmaras

As the demand and use of renewable energy technologies in both commercial and residential environments increases, understanding how electricity generated by these sources can be integrated into future grid designs is critical.

Our response

Creating a real-world test environment

REIF demonstrates how electricity networks will work in the future where the electricity supply mix will include many more renewable energy generators in conjunction with large, centralised power sources.

We can test new grid management technologies in a real-world environment using a variety of electrical generation and load types including solar, gas, turbine and battery storage. Our facility replicates the way electrical load for households or an entire commercial building complex changes during the course of the day and includes a diverse mix of generators. We can capture detailed electrical power data 50,000 times per second.

REIF is also being used to develop techniques that can intelligently detect and solve faults on electricity systems, improving supply reliability and reducing unwanted blackouts.

REIF is connected to:

  • solar photovoltaics (200 kW) with a mix of mono and polycrystalline silicon
  • programmable solar photovoltaic emulators (50 kW)
  • a horizontal axis wind turbine (5 kW)
  • three natural gas turbine cogeneration units (150 kW)
  • a programmable load bank (64 kW / 64kVAR)
  • domestic and commercial solar inverters, including a mix of micro-inverters and string-inverters
  • UltraBattery storage (80 kWh)
  • commercial lead-acid battery storage (75 kWh)
  • power grid simulator (100 kVA).

The results

A world class facility

We have created a world class facility which can be accessed by industry. REIF is supported by experts in the fields of power engineering, system design, energy management and grid technologies.

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