A one megawatt virtual power plant (VPP) trial has been launched by electricity supplier Ausgrid and Canberra-based management and control technology provider Reposit Power with 233 customers across 170 suburbs in Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter Valley.
The trial is open to households that already have Reposit Power battery management system installed. It promises savings of up to $135 annually for the energy exported to the grid from customers’ batteries.
The trial is delivered by the Power2U initiative, which is offering incentives to permanently reduce demand through measures such as solar PV and LED lighting with the goal to reduce participating customer’s bills, as well as avoid costly network upgrades in parts of Sydney with low renewables uptake. Ausgrid’s Power2U is part of a broader $7 million demand management innovation program.
While it previously offered incentive schemes for its customers, Ausgrid is now exploring the advantages of orchestrating distributed energy resources into a VPP.
“This is the first program of its type for Ausgrid,”said Ausgrid CEO, Richard Gross. “Solutions like a virtual power plant not only help customers, it helps the grid. If the trial is successful, it could provide a lower cost alternative to grid investment, which would result in lower customer bills in the long term.”
While VPPs can be tasked with balancing the grid and facilitating the integration of large renewable energy capacity into existing energy systems, they are also appealing to a wide range of stakeholders, including utilities, energy suppliers, and solar+storage system owners, since they represent an additional revenue stream leveraging a system that already has a sunk cost.
On the back of its high of rooftop solar+battery uptake, Australia boasts a growing pipeline of VPP projects. Reposit Power co-founder and CEO, Dean Spaccavento, said that the future of energy is happening now, and Australia is leading the charge.
“VPPs are the next step in Australia’s energy revolution,” said Spaccavento, noting that Reposit was recently awarded the highest engineering award for building a VPP.“We are confident that this trial will demonstrate the value of our clean, flexible and cost effective VPPs to individual households and the wider community.”
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