The virtual power plant is a centrally-managed network of
battery systems installed behind-the-meter that can be collectively controlled
to deliver benefits to households, energy retailers and the local network.
Simply Energy’s virtual power plant will be the second in
South Australia, after ARENA previously provided A$5 million in funding to AGL
to establish a virtual power plant of 1,000 households and businesses across
The A$23-million project will deliver Tesla Powerwall 2 home
batteries to up to 1,200 Adelaide households representing 6 MW of residential
energy storage. A further 2 MW of demand response capacity will be deployed
across 10 commercial businesses.
“We think consumer energy resources have a huge role to play
in Australia’s energy future, but we are still figuring out how we can
orchestrate rooftop solar and home batteries to feed back into the grid. This
is technically hard to do, which is why these pilot projects are so important,”
said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.
“This is a potential model for how distributed energy
resources can be operated at large scale in the future to help reduce energy
prices,” Mr Frischknecht said.
Individual customers will benefit from reduced power costs
as they are able to increase the amount of rooftop solar power they consume by
storing the solar-generated energy and using it later when they would otherwise
be consuming power from the grid. The battery systems are also able to provide
backup power in the event of an outage.
The 3-year trial will give South Australia
Power Networks (SAPN) greater visibility of behind the meter battery
storage and access to those batteries as distributed energy resources that can
be used to address local network constraints and manage demand.
The virtual power plant project will also develop Greensync’s innovative distributed energy
exchange (deX) platform to a commercial scale. Developed by Greensync with the
support of ARENA, the deX
platform provides an energy marketplace where energy capacity can be
transacted between businesses, households, communities and utilities in
response to price signals from the network owner.
According to Mr Frischknecht, this trial will also
demonstrate the commercial benefits of integrating a virtual power plant into a
distributed energy market platform such as deX.
Simply Energy CEO Carly Wishart said Adelaide households
will be able to participate in the trial, which will see the home battery
system delivered at a subsidised price.
The virtual power plant is expected to be complete and start
operation by the end of 2019.
Simply Energy is one of Australia's fastest
growing energy companies, serving over 600,000 customers around Australia. It
is part of ENGIE,
a leading global energy provider that operates in over 70 countries.