Transgrid and UK energy company Zenobē Energy have entered a joint venture to power Australia’s largest electric bus pilot in Sydney.
21 October 2021
The $40 million project, designed in close collaboration with Transit Systems, Australia’s leading Zero Emission Bus operator, will transform Transport for NSW’s Leichhardt bus depot into a next-generation electric bus depot that seamlessly integrates vehicles, chargers, solar generation and batteries with the electricity grid.
Transgrid and Zenobē will deliver and install the infrastructure to power 40 electric buses – the largest single fleet of electric buses in Australia.
Transgrid Acting CEO Brian Salter said it’s a major step forward for Sydney in achieving an electrified public transport fleet.
“Our energy system is evolving rapidly and Transgrid and its commercial arm, Lumea, are playing an important role in leading the transition to a clean energy future. Electrification of transport is an essential feature of the modern energy system and this initiative is a welcome addition to the grid-scale batteries and multipurpose energy hubs that Lumea is developing throughout Australia. We are delighted to be bringing Zenobe’s global experience and capability to Australia through this project,” he said.
Zenobē Co-Founder and Director Steven Meersman said the electric buses are able to perform a full day of operations on a single charge and can be charged overnight at the depot without having a negative impact on the grid, through the installation of batteries onsite.
“We’ve worked with Transgrid to deliver an advanced infrastructure implementation solution which combined with Zenobē’s end-to-end software will seamlessly manage the fleet charging process, as well as the resulting power requirements. Together we’re proudly showcasing what is possible when it comes to the delivery of zero emission transport and we commend Transit Systems on their commitment to producing more sustainable transport solutions,” he said.
Transgrid and Zenobē have created a joint venture for the project providing local electrical engineering, grid and bus electrification expertise, market leading software and advanced telematics as well as procurement and operation of large-scale battery, solar and EV chargers.
Executive Manager Strategy, Innovation and Technology for Transgrid Eva Hanly said the partnership with Zenobē will provide a proven industry blueprint for how this can be done effectively at scale.
“The model we’re using could be used to facilitate the roll-out of electric buses and commercial vehicles at large scale across Australia. As we plan for the energy system of the future, this project will give us the data we need to understand how electrification of transport will affect energy supply and demand patterns,” she said.
The joint venture will deploy technology already activated successfully overseas, while the contracting model is designed to reduce the risk to the operator by eliminating the upfront costs.
“Transgrid and Zenobe provide the batteries for the buses, stationary storage, depot conversion and charging infrastructure and ensure vehicles are always fully charged on time, and have the required range. We manage and take full responsibility for the electrification requirements, so the transport operator can focus on the delivery of a reliable bus service,” said Mr Meersman.
Transgrid and Zenobē have welcomed the strong support from the Federal Government for the project which has received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has also committed to provide debt finance. The project will share knowledge and performance data through ARENA’s knowledge sharing program, which will support the roll-out of electric buses across Australia.