AGL trials flexible demand in commercial/industrial sector

A man and woman stand at windows overlooking the tarmac at Melbourne Airport (AGL flexible demand)
Melbourne Airport (Image: Shutterstock)

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide $864,000 in funding to AGL to develop and trial a price intensity forecasting tool to support dynamic load flexing in the commercial and industrial sectors.

AGL’s $1.78 million project will initially recruit four Melbourne-based customer sites and utilise their price intensity forecasts to manage energy loads, freeing up around 25MW of combined flexible load, which can be used to ease pressure on the energy grid.

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Melbourne Airport, a warehouse and logistics company, a tier 1 supermarket chain and a water utility company will take part in the project, representing key addressable industries of cold stores, supermarkets, water treatment and airport market segments. Together these sites offer up a potential of 385MW load management across the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Shifting demand away from peak times and reducing demand at critical times can complement energy storage and reduce the overall cost of energy and support integration of more renewables into the grid.

AGL’s tool will work by developing a pre-dispatch forecast of solar and wind generation, and thermal generator availability to produce 30-minute interval price forecasts for the next seven days. The customer sites’ process management system will plan the operation of their energy usage based on the forecast by moving load in or out of the 30-minute blocks.

Through the tool, the trial customers will be able to respond to price signals and demonstrate the benefits of load flexibility without exposure to wholesale market risk.

AGL chief customer officer Jo Egan said the two-year project with support from ARENA would allow AGL to assess the implications of dynamic flexible loads on energy pricing and the potential benefits of load flexing.

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“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. We look forward to sharing the knowledge of the trial with ARENA and our participating partners to optimise the transition to renewable energy,” Egan said.

AGL’s price intensity forecasting tool commences with the development of the software and hardware in early 2024, with findings to be shared mid-2025.

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