The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has opened registrations for participation in its virtual power plant (VPP) demonstration program.
The program will test the potential for consumers’ distributed energy resources (DERs) – such as rooftop solar systems, battery storage and controllable load devices – operating in a VPP, to provide scalable energy and network services traditionally performed by large-scale, conventional electricity generators.
This initiative contributes to unlocking new value for Australian consumers with DERs, including an estimated two million rooftop solar systems, benefiting all energy users through a more efficient and affordable power system.
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ARENA CEO Darren Miller said, “VPPs will play an important role in maintaining grid stability and managing peaks in demand by harnessing consumer-owned energy assets like rooftop solar and batteries.
“More than two million Australia households have already taken up rooftop solar, and tens of thousands are adding home batteries, so it is going to be increasingly important to have the ability to coordinate and control these distributed assets – as well as other distributed assets such as smart appliances, solar hot water systems, pool pumps and electric vehicles. This trial is a crucial first step towards that.
“ARENA has played a role in funding some of South Australia’s largest VPP trials with AGL and Simply Energy and has supported Greensync’s deX platform. We look forward to seeing the end results of the applicants in the AEMO VPP integration trial.”
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Australia hosts some of the most advanced VPP projects in the world, particularly involving rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems and battery storage, in both grid-connected and off-grid applications.
Prominent grid-connected examples include the 36 megawatt Next Generation Energy Storage Program with more than 5000 batteries in Canberra homes and the South Australian public housing tenants’ VPP that, if commercialised, could reach up to 50,000 public and private property installations, making it one of the biggest VPPs in the world.
These demonstrations are the first step in a broad program of work designed to inform changes to regulatory frameworks and operational processes so DER can be effectively integrate into Australia’s energy system and market, maximising value to consumers while also supporting power system security.
For more information on the VPP demonstrations program and to register, visit AEMO’s website.