Mick de Brenni visits EcoJoule Energy

In April we were very pleased to welcome Hon Mick de Brenni the Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement together with his team to our premises in Loganholme.

During the visit, Minister de Brenni was very interested in our wholly Queensland-based development and manufacturing, as well as our plan to further expand our operations, thus creating more jobs in the Clean Tech Renewables space.  As more and more solar is installed on Queenslanders’ roof tops, it is critical that voltage is regulated and solar is stored and used at appropriate times of the day.  We believe our product is a great, efficient solution to this problem and will contribute towards Queensland achieving its 70% renewables target by 2032 and 80% by 2035.

Minister de Brenni’s message to all our staff was one of optimism and how vital it is for all of us to play a role in shaping the future of energy and renewables in Queensland.  EcoJoule Energy can make a difference and we are planning to!

Michael Wishart included as part of The Australian’s Green Power Players

Newspaper The Australian has held its second annual ‘Green Power Players’ List to commemorate Australia’s top 100 most important people in the green energy space. Our very own CEO, Michael Wishart, has been included as part of list! The article writes as follows:

Electronics industry veteran Mike Wishart is the brains behind EcoJoule Energy, which delivers Australian- owned and operated technology solutions for the electricity grid. The company’s flagship device is called EcoVAR, a static compensator mounted on existing power poles and designed to correct grid voltages, particularly in low-voltage residential networks. It costs far less than other solutions, Wishart says, and is helping Australia’s electricity network handle the explosion in renewables.

“We believe that there is a huge worldwide oppurtunity to improve the supply of electricity to consumers through the use of modern power electronics devices,” Wishart says. “Our objective is to design innovative, efficient and flexible products that contribute to providing lower cost, reliable and sustainable electricity to all.”

Read the full article here. Please note that the list is unavailable to non-subscribers of The Australian.

Endeavour Energy commissions EcoJoule battery for greener modern grid

Endeavour Energy has recently commissioned the first of several pole mounted network support batteries in time for the launch of Sydney Water’s Urban Plunge pop-up swim site on Saturday November 26.  The units have been installed in Andrew Campbell Reserve (William Lawson Dr, Prospect NSW) together with Solar Panels and three Electric Vehicle Chargers as a demonstration of low carbon and future leaning technology. The “EcoSTORE” network support batteries, developed by Australian manufacturer EcoJoule Energy, use innovative new technology to stabilise local grids and allow more clean solar energy exports. EcoJoule’s EcoSTORETM battery storage systems have been developed for sites where there is a high penetration of rooftop solar, which is placing pressure on the local grid infrastructure. 

The EcoSTORE systems store excess solar energy during the day and make it available for use during peak periods in the evening. This effectively shifts the solar energy to the period of the day where it is most useful, maximising the value of the renewable energy and reducing the reliance on fossil fuel generated energy.  The EcoSTORE batteries also have strong in-built network support technology which can improve the voltage delivered to consumers as well as reduce phase unbalance which is often a major constraint on low voltage electricity networks.  This allows Endeavour Energy to avoid expensive network upgrades such as replacing poles, wires, and transformers. 

An advantage of the EcoSTOREs is that they have been designed to be easily installed on electricity poles.  The batteries don’t take up space on footpaths, verges or in parks and operate quietly, resulting in substantial value to the local community. EcoJoule’s pole mounted batteries are far more cost effective than individually owned household batteries since they benefit from scale and leverage off the diversity in customer loads given consumers draw their power at varying times.

Endeavour Energy’s Power Quality and DER Integration Manager Albert Pors said, We are excited to commence deploying low voltage network support batteries.  They provide Endeavour Energy the ability to improve power quality and solar hosting capacity for customers as well as reducing network peak demand, which can defer traditional network augmentation requirements.”

EcoJoule Energy’s Principal Engineer, David Courage, said the batteries offered multiple benefits. “The EcoSTORE community battery offers the opportunity to maximise the value of rooftop solar energy while at the same time relieving pressure off the electricity grid,” he said. “Endeavour Energy is demonstrating its customer-focused leadership in the rapidly changing electricity industry, and we are proud to supply our Australian-designed, Australian-manufactured solutions to this project.”

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.