New Government announces community battery program

Australia’s new Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Hon Chris Bowen MP, announced that electorates in the Wollongong area will benefit from Community Batteries under Labor’s “Power to the People” Program.

The announcement was made at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) at the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus. As the only Australian developer and manufacturer of Community Batteries, EcoJoule, represented by Tony Ferguson, also spoke. EcoJoule is keen to offer its Community Batteries to the Federal Government under the Power to the People Program along with other providers in the market.

As Community Battery production by EcoJoule grows, the company plans to add a second manufacturing facility to complement its Brisbane R&D and manufacturing centre. This second facility would be located in the Illawarra, creating new sustainable jobs and an extended local supply chain involving subcontractors, component manufacturers and service providers.

Pictured below, left to right

Professor Jennifer Martin, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research & Innovation at UOW , Stephen Jones MP – Member for Whitlam. Tony Ferguson – EcoJoule, Hon Chris Bown MP – Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Ty Christopher – Director of Energy Futures at the University of Wollongong (and a Senior Adviser to EcoJoule), Alison Byrnes MP – Member for Cunningham 

EcoJoule represented at International Smart Grid Technologies Conference

The 10th IEEE PES Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference (Asia) is being proudly hosted at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 5 – 8 December 2021.

EcoJoule’s Principal Engineer – Control Systems, Dr Mihai Ciobotaru, will have his paper on the conference theme, “Resilient renewable energies and grid transformations”, published in the Conference proceedings and delivered in an oral presentation.

Conference participants will attend from international locations in a hybrid format, and from an array of relevant sectors, including academia, industry, R&D organisations, government, and the power & energy sector utilities to discuss, share and exchange ideas related to innovations in smart grid technologies for future grid transformation.

This conference is a first-class opportunity for EcoJoule Energy to showcase our locally developed and manufactured technologies on in internationally-represented platform. And, to gain recognition of EcoJoule’s advancements in grid distribution technologies and energy storage.

EcoJoule is also currently bringing our revolutionary technology to the European market. Our multinational European team has successfully commissioned EcoVAR units in locations where they have greatly exceeded our customers’ expectations.

EcoJoule Energy will be represented at the Conference by Dr Mike Wishart and Dr Mihai Ciobotaru.

Ausgrid and EcoJoule Energy Improve Power Supply to Nords Wharf

7th June 2021 – Ausgrid has partnered with EcoJoule Energy to install cutting-edge technology to improve power supply to the community of Nords Wharf on the shore of Lake Macquarie.

Nords Wharf, like many small regional communities, had been experiencing fluctuations in voltage due to long low-voltage networks and the increasing penetration of rooftop solar being experienced all around Australia.

Distribution Network Service Providers are aware of the issues being faced in regional areas due to these factors, and companies like Ausgrid are continually striving to improve the overall performance of supply to those areas.

Ausgrid has installed a three phase EcoVAR unit from EcoJoule Energy at Nords Wharf, which has successfully reduced the voltage fluctuation to consumers, also preventing the potential tripping of solar systems and delivering reliable outcomes in the delivery of power.

In the area where the EcoVAR unit has been installed there is a significant increase in the amount of solar energy that can be exported into the grid, virtually eliminating constraints on existing solar customers.

Where voltage limits are exceeded, residents may not fully benefit from their solar exports or self-consumption. Where voltage drops below allowable limits this can adversely impact the operation of customer appliances (for example fridges, pool pumps, air conditioners, etc).

The EcoVAR units are the first units of their type being trialed by Ausgrid.

Ausgrid’s Executive General Manager of Asset Management Junayd Hollis said he’s pleased with the successful commissioning of the units in Nords Wharf, and optimistic about the installation of further units.

“Ausgrid has a diverse and complex network and we are looking to use innovative technology to improve service quality for all of our communities,” Mr Hollis said.

“That’s why we commenced these trials with the EcoVAR units, to improve customer voltage and quality of electricity supply. This is an integral part of our actions to increase hosting capacity for rooftop solar as well as other Distributed Energy Resources (DER), and reduce costs on our network. In turn this helps de-carbonise the grid and work towards a net zero future.”

Bill Chesterton, who is overseeing the trial project for Ausgrid said, “Since installation, the EcoVAR installations have been operating reliably and effectively, being able to lower voltage when too high and raise voltage when too low by around 10 Volts.”

Mike Wishart, CEO of EcoJoule, has praised Ausgrid for taking this step to support consumers.

 “The Electricity grid is being challenged by strong uptake of solar PV systems and it’s great to see distributors like Ausgrid proactively adopting new technology to address the issues,” Dr Wishart said.

“EcoJoule Energy is all about delivering reliable, affordable power solutions, across the board in Australia. We are proud to partner with Ausgrid to deliver Australian-designed, Australian-manufactured solutions that benefit our communities.”

Is the introduction of a new tariff the best we can do?

27 May 2021 – An article published in the Australian Financial Review this week raises questions over the AEMC’s proposal to allow distributors to charge solar-owners for surplus solar power exports at peak times. 

The AFR article quotes EcoJoule Energy’s Tony Ferguson as saying, “My concern with solar tariffs is that you are dissuading people from transmitting effectively free … zero-carbon electricity to the grid”.

As more and more Australian consumers embrace rooftop solar solutions, stability of the grid is certainly an issue that needs to be considered. EcoJoule Energy CEO, Mike Wishart says, “there are better, cost effective technical solutions, including ours,  that don’t discourage consumers from exporting zero carbon, zero marginal cost energy to the grid”.

While the AEMC spokesperson believes that unnecessary infrastructure investment can be avoided by giving distributors the ability to charge solar investors, he identifies that technological infrastructure will have a critical role in the future.  EcoJoule Energy strongly believes that technology, not taxes, can be used to transition our electricity supply system into a lower cost, more reliable and more environmentally friendly system.

In the meantime, submissions to the AEMC can be made until May 27 with a final decision due to be made in July. 

EcoVAR units installed and running well in Lithuania

29 April 2021 – A little over 6 months ago EcoJoule Energy announced a shipment of their EcoVar Statcom units to Lithuania for trial and test with one of the largest energy companies in the Baltic States, namely ESO.

EcoJoule Energy are pleased that the pilot site is operational and collection of the first data has begun. 

Dr. Mike Wishart EcoJoule’s CEO stated, “The successful installation and commissioning of the first EcoVAR unit in Europe is a major milestone for EcoJoule and demonstrates the world-wide applicability of our technology.  Video calls made support of the installation process simple and it has been a pleasure dealing with the very capable ESO staff”.

The units were installed in the area of Baltoji Vokė, about a half an hour’s drive from the capital Vilnius.

Karolis Gesevičius, ESO’s Innovation Project Manager, has been pleased with the units, reporting that, “the installation of the EcoVAR went according to plan and the units started operating straight away without problems. Since installation and commissioning of the units we have observed a very noticeable improvement in voltage and reduction in voltage unbalance on the network, with the observed voltage variation changing from around 50V per phase before installation to around 10V after installation”.

It is a fantastic achievement for Ecojoule that an Australian-designed and manufactured technological product has been successfully exported, installed and commissioned to the European market during the COVID pandemic.

EcoJoule Energy welcomes Dr Mihai Ciobotaru

The directors and staff of EcoJoule Energy have announced Dr Mihai Ciobotaru is to join the EcoJoule team as Principal Engineer – Control Systems. 

EcoJoule CEO Dr Mike Wishart made the announcement and said, “Mihai’s formidable expertise and his substantial experience with some of the world’s leading energy research institutions stands to enrich EcoJoule Energy’s focus in providing world-class next generation power management products – designed and manufactured right here in Australia – we are thrilled to welcome Mihai on-board.

Mihai has many years of experience in designing control systems for grid connected power electronics converters, and digital signal processing.

He has held a number of senior academic positions, including at Aalborg University in Denmark, UNSW and Macquarie University, which delivered him opportunities to perform his research with industry stakeholders in the field of power electronics converters.

Mihai’s expertise is recognised by the international research community and various patents, books and industries. He has contributed to more than 120 research publications in the field of Electrical Engineering. 

Mihai holds BScEng, MScEng and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering and is a Senior Member with IEEE.

EcoJoule Energy supports #FixTheVoltage Campaign

27 November 2020

EcoJoule Energy have proudly thrown their support behind a campaign aimed to get the Energy Regulator to make a regulatory change which would allow Conservation Voltage Reduction in Australia.

There is a simple regulatory change which uses an existing in-place incentive scheme for electricity network businesses that with a very simple augmentation would put in place the right sort of cost signal that applies to the entire national grid.

EcoJoule Energy thanks Renew and, in particular their Illawarra branch, for driving a public petition to gain public support and leading the call to the Australian Federal Energy Minister to make the required the changes.

EcoJoule Energy Executive Director, Tony Ferguson said “EcoJoule is a keen supporter of the #FTV campaign and we are devoting substantial funding to help promote it. We believe that there is a huge opportunity here to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. Sure, we produce technology which can be used to implement voltage reduction. We just want to see the voltage reduction finally implemented and we encourage other equipment suppliers and service providers to the electricity industry to join us in supporting #FTV. This needs to happen!

Mike Wishart, CEO of EcoJoule Energy, said “I agree with Tony, I see us as a strong supporter.  Yes, we have a vested interest in selling our technology but even without this we would want to see this regulatory change implemented.”

Senior Strategy Adviser to Ecojoule Energy, Ty Christopher, presented a highly informative Webinar on Wednesday 25 November to Renew Australia and members of the public who have enthusiastically registered their interest. It was a well-informed presentation which garnered a high level of interest and positive response.

Ty Christopher said, “I am passionate about using new technology to transform the electricity grid to benefit consumers. Voltage levels have been held at the high end of the allowable range ever since the Australian standard changed to reduce the main voltage level over 20 years ago. Up until recently, cost-effective solutions to the problem of over voltage supply have not been available. Now they are available, using Australian developed, Australian designed and Australian manufactured technology.

Further information about the #FixTheVoltage campaign can be sourced by visiting the Fix The Voltage website at FixTheVoltage.org containing links to the petition and social media supporting the campaign.

Company Announcement: Welcome to Mark Johnson AO

1 September 2020 – The Directors at EcoJoule Energy are privileged to welcome Mark Johnson AO as the newest investor and shareholder in the Company.

In a joint statement EcoJoule Directors Mike Wishart and Tony Ferguson said, “Mark has had a distinguished career and has been a respected leader in Australian business. He has had a long association with the energy industry – more than 20 years as a director of AGL, including six as Chairman, and has been Chairman of Alinta Energy since 2010. We at Ecojoule Energy are delighted to have the opportunity to benefit from Mark’s considerable insight into the energy industry and his extensive experience in guiding successful outcomes for business.” 

Mark is Chairman of Alinta Energy and Dateline Resources. He is a Senior Advisor to Gresham Partners and Advisor to Bank of Tokyo Mitsubish MUFG in Australia. He has spent more than 50 years in banking and corporate finance and retired as Deputy Chairman of Macquarie Bank in 2007 and as Chairman of Macquarie Infrastructure Group in 2010. He has also served as a Chairman of AGL Energy and Guinness Peat Group and as a Director Pioneer International, Sydney Futures Exchange, Santos and Westfield Holdings.

He has recently retired from the Advisory Board of the APEC Study Centre at RMIT University, the Board of Governors of the Institute for International Trade at the University of Adelaide, the Board of Directors of Asialink and the Advisory Council of SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong.

Mark was awarded the Order of Australia (AO) in 2010 and is a Commander of the Order of the Crown (Tonga) and a Life Governor of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons.) from the University of Melbourne, and an MBA from Harvard. He is a Fellow of the AICD.

Mark’s appreciation of innovation and entrepreneurialism in business provided the perfect platform for his interest in EcoJoule Energy. EcoJoule Energy’s business relies on creating innovative products to build the energy generation network of the future.

Ty Christopher, leading electricity industry executive joins EcoJoule Energy

15 July 2020

  • Ty Christopher has joined EcoJoule Energy as Senior Adviser – Strategy and Business Development
  • Ty’s immediate previous position was as a Senior Executive in a major energy company in NSW holding responsibility for infrastructure development and reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer
  • Ty is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Wollongong and well known in the electrical industry for his innovative and transformational leadership.

EcoJoule Energy is delighted to announce that leading electricity industry executive Ty Christopher has joined EcoJoule Energy as Senior Adviser – Strategy and Business Development. Ty will join the Company’s Executive Committee and take a key role in steering the Company’s future.

EcoJoule CEO Dr Mike Wishart said today ”I am absolutely delighted that Ty Christopher, one of the most senior executives in the Australian electricity distribution industry, has chosen to join us at EcoJoule. Ty shares our vision of deploying smarter, cheaper and more effective ways of distributing Australia’s abundant energy to end users, particularly households. I can think of no-one better than Ty to deliver this challenge.

Ty’s role will include both EcoJoule’s product and market development strategy. The Company’s products already include a power line mounted voltage stabiliser being tested and deployed by Australian distributors, and a smart battery inverter with the ability to greatly improve power quality in remote areas while supporting the aging remote area infrastructure. Several further R&D projects are in the pipeline. “While our initial focus is Australia, the world also needs our solutions,” added Dr Wishart.

Ty Christopher said “In Ecojoule I have found an organisation that shares my core commitment to deliver cheaper and cleaner power to customers utilising Australian-developed technology. Through our ongoing development of new technology and our Australian based manufacturing, EcoJoule is delivering the grid of the future here and now.

Ausgrid to trial EcoVAR units

12 June 2020 – Ausgrid is investigating the potential of new low voltage regulation technology from EcoJoule Energy to help optimise the benefits to consumers who have, or may invest, in Distributed Energy Resources (DER), such as rooftop solar or batteries. 

Junayd Hollis, Ausgrid’s General Manager – Asset Management said “By regulating the voltage at 230V feeder level, Ausgrid can create additional hosting capacity for DER.  A more stable voltage can also be maintained for all customers, which is good for appliances and minimises the curtailment of DER export.” 

The efficient integration of DER will provide benefits to non-DER owners by enabling Ausgrid to improve network utilisation and maintain the reliability and security of its network at a lower total system cost, which reduces electricity costs to all consumers.

We are quietly confident that the EcoVAR unit from EcoJoule Energy will prove to be an economic upgrade path to increase hosting for additional DER.  This results in a win-win scenario for Customers, Ausgrid and the industry in general” Junayd said.

Dr Mike Wishart, CEO of Ecojoule Energy said “Ausgrid are the largest electricity distributor on Australia’s east coast – championing their vision of renewables playing a major role in reliable electricity generation. EcoJoule Energy are proud of this opportunity to partner with Ausgrid to fulfil our primary objective of delivering sustainable, cost-effective, more reliable electricity solutions to our fellow Australians.”