Victorian networks open tender for flexible demand solutions


Victorian electricity distribution system operators CitiPower and Powercor are inviting third parties to participate in their new, cloud-based flexibility marketplace as they seek to source flexible electricity from sellers during times of high demand or low supply.

CitiPower and Powercor said the Flex platform, created for them by UK-headquartered technology provider Piclo, creates a marketplace for alternatives to traditional poles and wires upgrades to supply the extra power that customers need when parts of power networks reach their capacity.

The online Flex platform includes an interactive map of local network constraints and allows third-party providers of flexible demand, including solar, batteries, virtual power plants and demand management systems, to match solutions to network opportunities close to their location.

The network operators said this will not only help to remove constraints and reduce the costs for networks to serve customers, but also support the decarbonisation of grids, providing flexible electricity over expensive bulk power from traditional coal- or gas-powered sources.

CitiPower and Powercor have opened a first round of tenders for solving contraints across their networks.

Image: Piclo

Andrew Dinning, Head of Network Planning at CitiPower and Powercor, said the energy transition is delivering volatile supply and demand patterns and location mismatches between renewable generation sources and major energy consumption centres, making grid flexibility more important than ever.

Dinning said he hoped providers would bid into the flexibility tenders, the first of which is now open, to deliver competitive options and keep costs low for customers.

Solutions needed range across levels and capacities; from as low as a few dozen kilowatts, to tens of megawatts and expressions of interest are also encouraged for millions of dollars for non‑network solution providers.

“We’re really keen to see how much the market has matured to help us deliver for our customers at a lower cost than our traditional ‘poles and wires’ alternative,” Dinning said.

“This might include batteries, virtual power plants or demand management programs. We’d love to hear what’s out there today.”

A screen shot example of an opportunity in the Melbourne CBD.

Image: Piclo

Dinning said CitiPower and Powercor’s constraint data is open, transparent, and easy to access through the Piclo Flex marketplace.

“Anyone can use the marketplace, look at sites we plan to upgrade, and see if they can compete with traditional network solutions to solve network constraints,” he said.

Solutions successful in the current tender will be rewarded with multi-year contracts to provide network support that helps to meet the challenges of increasing maximum demand.

CitiPower and Powercor deliver electricity to about 1.27 million Victorian homes and businesses in Melbourne’s central business district, inner suburbs, and about two-thirds of regional Victoria.

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