AGL to trial forecasting tool to transform energy demands of C&I sites


The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has provided energy major AGL with $864,000 (USD 567,000) to help finance the development and trial of a ‘price intensity forecasting tool’ to support dynamic load flexing in the network.

AGL said the Victorian-based $1.78 million Dynamic Pricing Load Flex Project will initially focus on energy load control at the airport, a major supermarket chain, a warehouse and logistics company, and a water utility company to demonstrate flexible demand capacity. If successful, the trial could free up 25 MW of energy during peak periods.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Darren Miller said demand flexibility has been identified as a viable solution to the evolving requirements of the electricity grid, offering a way to reduce the load on the grid during busy periods.

Unlocking flexible demand at commercial and industrial sites can free up electricity capacity at times of high demand and consume electricity when renewable electricity is abundant,” he said.

“This will help us create a truly smart, adaptable and efficient energy grid.”

The four Melbourne-based sites involved in the trial offer up a potential of 385 MW load management across the National Electricity Market (NEM) with the price forecasting tool to provide those customers with access to 30-minute pricing updates based on solar and wind generation forecasts and thermal generator availability over a seven-day period.

The energy management systems at the sites will allow the customers to respond to price signals to plan their energy use to match supply and demand.

AGL Chief Customer Officer Jo Egan said the project marks the first step in the utility developing a load flex product for its commercial and industrial customers.

“Flexible demand projects like this enable AGL to develop our technological expertise in harnessing renewable energy while also exploring novel ways to reduce customer costs,” she said. “We look forward to sharing the knowledge of the trial with ARENA and our participating partners to optimise the transition to renewable energy.”

AGL expects to start developing the software and hardware early next year and will share findings from the trial later in 2024 with the final report due in mid-2025.

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