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The Australian National University

Dr Nick Engerer

Ph.D. Solar Radiation & Energy, M.Sc. Meteorology, B.Sc. Meteorology
Lecturer, Fenner School of Environment and Society
ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment
T: 02 6125 1658

Areas of expertise

  • Meteorology 040107
  • Atmospheric Radiation 040103
  • Atmospheric Dynamics 040102
  • Photodetectors, Optical Sensors And Solar Cells 090605
  • Renewable Power And Energy Systems Engineering (Excl. Solar Cells) 090608

Research interests

Energy Meteorology, Solar Energy, Solar Radiation, Energy Storage, Distributed Solar Energy, Solar Energy Forecasting, Power Sytems, Distribution Networks, Machine Learning, Severe Weather 

Biography

Nicholas is an academic at The Australian National University, and is passionate about developing & promoting research projects which connect ANU research to industry-relevant outcomes. Nicholas is the Chief Investigator on a $3.6M ARENA & industry funded project developing distributed solar modelling and forecasting products for Australian distribution networks.  He is also the Chief Technology Officer of a solar forecasting company (Solcast). Nicholas maintains research connections around the world, including China, Singapore, Germany and the United States.

Researcher's projects

Dr. Engerer is the Chief Investigator on this Australian Renewable Energy Agency & industry partner funded research project, which will run over the 2016-2019 period. This project will enhance the Regional PV Simulation System (RPSS) into a product that provides network service providers with real-time distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) simulations mapped to their electricity networks.

The inherent intermittency of Australia’s 1.5 million small-scale solar PV systems can create problems on distribution networks. Maximum penetration levels of solar PV are already being reached in some areas of Australia, with long fringe-of-grid lines most vulnerable.  In addition to this, current sources of solar PV system power output information are time-lagged, only allowing for reactive decision making, which is too late for effectively managing high penetration solar PV variability.

This project will form relationships with distribution network partners (DNSPs) to collect detailed solar PV system information and information about electrical networks. This will enable researchers to produce solar PV power output simulations mapped directly to distribution networks.  These innovative PV simulations will show the real-time solar generation across the distribution networks of participating DNSPs. These will quantify distributed solar PV power output with enough lead-time to proactively manage solar PV-induced voltage fluctuations.

The project will also deliver a modelling system that is integrated with distribution network operational systems. This will bring the research full circle by creating an applied, real-world technology that directly addresses a formidable industry challenge. Network service providers will be able to use these simulations to manage solar PV integration challenges with solutions such as energy storage technologies and demand management.

This has the potential to allow higher penetrations of solar PV on Australian electricity networks.

For more see http://nickengerer.org/ or http://bit.ly/ARENA_nengerer

Available student projects

I am searching for students interested in contributing to ARENA funded distributed solar modelling and forecasting project, in the following ways:

  • processing emedded PV generators and distribution network data from DNSPs
  • processing and analysing time-series data from distribution network assetts (e.g. 11 kV feeder)
  • processing and analysing solar radiation estimates from the Himawari satellite
  • creating a project webpage, whose purpose is to distribute data to other scientists and inform the public
  • developing and publishing an open source R package based on the existing, but not yet published 'anusolar' package
  • analysing the impact of distributed solar on the NEM spot market
  • connecting solar variability events to local meteorological events
  • simulating and coordinate energy storage dispatch to relieve PV intermittency
  • completing similar research efforst in China (chinese speakers preferred!)
  • other project areas available on request

Read more at:  http://bit.ly/ARENAR2

Contact Dr. Engerer (nicholas.engerer@anu.edu.au) with your interest in participation.  If you want to join an exciting, real-world project and be part of a team working towards a renewable future, this project is for you! Please be sure to indicate your current student status (undergrad? postgrad?), the course(s) you intend to use to participate (e.g. ENGN4200), and your start data/availability.

Candidates with a background in computer coding (R or Matlab preferred) will be given strong preference.  This project is actively looking for at least 1-2 chinese speaking students to coordinate with ongoing efforts in this space within China, so please indicated if you are a native chinese speaker. 

 

Current student projects

I post updates regarding current student projects to my research webpage at:

http://www.nickengerer.org/student-projects/

Past student projects

You can find a list of past student projects, and their theses at:

http://www.nickengerer.org/student-projects/

Publications

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Updated:  24 April 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers