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Curtin research looks at smarter, greener energy use

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Curtin University of Technology researchers are giving small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) in Denmark and Albany the opportunity to be part of the solution to local energy and power problems.

Research Centre for Stronger Communities, Research Fellow, Dr Diane Costello and Director, Professor Daniela Stehlik, are inviting local SMEs to participate in an online survey which aims to develop an understanding of factors associated with the development of sustainable energy solutions.

Dr Costello said the survey was part of a three-year research project titled Social Impacts of Intelligent Grid, one of seven projects under the Intelligent Grid Cluster, a national research collaboration between CSIRO and the university sector, funded under CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship.

“This program aims to facilitate major greenhouse gas emission reductions by integrating distributed energy technology with a more intelligent electricity network,” Dr Costello said.

“An ‘intelligent’ electricity grid has a minimal amount of waste and a highly efficient use of power to deliver electricity more cost-effectively with lower greenhouse intensity.

“Regional communities like Denmark that are located at the edge of a centralised grid can experience problems with quality and reliability of power supplies which can cost local businesses lost revenue.

“So we need SMEs to take part in the survey to find out more about their views on energy options.”

The survey will look at attitudes towards green energy alternatives ranging from solar panels on roofs of buildings to wind farms, and solar farms.

It will be distributed during August through key groups and networks including the Denmark and Albany Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the South Coast Power Working Group.

Dr Costello said they needed to find out more about SMEs’ circumstances.

“This will help us to better appreciate not only what the barriers are, but also what incentives are available to adopt alternative energy sources as these could sometimes be a more costly option.

“For example, we are keen to know whether SMEs would be willing to invest in installing solar power panels and wind turbines on their premises if they could save money in the long run.

“Survey outcomes will be reported at the IG-DE Forum to be held in Perth in October. As a component of the national project, this research will assist all levels of government with their decision making on the region’s future.”

Dr Costello, of Craigie, has an ongoing association with the Denmark community through research.

For more information on the survey contact Dr Costello on 9266 1727, or visit For information on the Intelligent Grid Cluster visit

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