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Energy conversations some 2000ft above

On a chilly Thursday morning, the team decided to go to the Smart Energy Lab, which is a hub for field testing energy storage, solar power generation, and smart monitoring systems, located about 70 kilometers from our office in Oakleigh on a mountain called Toolebewong.


The journey was unforgettable, with breathtaking views of the Yarra Valley, cows grazing peacefully, and vineyards sprawled out in their glory. We were greeted at the top of the mountain by a gust of wind, which reminded us to tighten the puffers and woolen sweaters we had put on.

Glen Morris, the General Manager of Smart Energy Lab and a close friend of our company director, greeted us warmly upon our arrival. He welcomed us into his warm haven amidst the cold outside with coffee and tea. A traditional fireplace was installed to keep the room warm.

Now onto business: after analysing the room full of inverters and smart energy devices, the team gathered around the table, took our laptops and gear out, and connected to one of the inverters to capture data from the microgrids to be analysed as part of our DER security module project which includes:

  • Cryptographic Processor - Generating the hashing algorithms

  • Key Management Hardware Module

  • Software Inspection and checking Module

  • Brute force Attack Protection Module

  • Memory space for storage of keys

While this process was running, I took some time to look around the lab because it was my first time there. It was a truly fascinating and educational experience to examine various inverters and devices from a variety of vendors: Trone, Solar Edge, Huawei, and Fronius to name a few, all set up in a room showing real-time readings coming from the Microgrids.

The most impressive aspect, however, was the large solar grid set outside in the open, surrounded by a stunning landscape of trees and mountains. We couldn't help but get closer and take a look. It was beautiful and majestic in its own right, or perhaps the scenery around it contributed to its beauty. We took some pictures of it and then moved ahead.

We returned to the cozy lab after wandering around the place to discuss some future prospects and projects, with Glen sharing his insights and experience in the industry including current trends in the energy sector over some nachos and guacamole.

When the data collection was finished, it was time to pack up and leave. It was a truly unique experience full of learning and insights into the world of energy security and operations. I returned full of experiences and knowledge, as well as some breathtaking views of Mount Toolebewong.

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