Origin receives funding to build Victoria’s largest microgrid

SA Power Networks, home battery, solar homes

The Victorian Government has announced it will provide $4.5 million in funding to help construct the state’s largest virtual power plant (VPP).

Origin Energy will receive the funding to develop a $20 million cloud-based project that will distribute power from up to 650 customers with solar PV and batteries during peak periods.

“A record number of Australians are embracing solar and we’re delighted to be partnering with the Victorian Government to see how we can deliver benefits across the network and ultimately lower costs for customers,” Origin executive general manger retail Jon Briskin said.

“By offering trial participants access to cheaper batteries and solar PV systems and connecting these to our demand management platforms, we will be able to help customers manage their stored and generated electricity, have this traded into the electricity market and reduce demand placed on the existing electricity network.

“We’re the leading supplier of solar systems to residential and business customers, were among the first to retail battery storage in Australia and have been leading the way in the identification and trialing of cutting edge demand management platforms.

“The development of a virtual power plant brings together several initiatives Origin has been trialing to help customers embrace the benefits of distributed and decentralised energy.”

Victorian Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio said the VPP would boost grid stability by discharging power from solar PV and batteries located at homes and commercial and industrial sites to reduce their power bills.

The selected customers will receive discounted batteries, demonstrating opportunities for coordinating solar PV, batteries and flexible demand across Victoria.

“We’re investing in new technologies that will help create jobs, attract investment in renewable energy and bring down power prices,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“We’re ensuring Victoria’s energy system is affordable, resilient and secure, as we transition to the next generation of energy technologies.”

The VPP will provide benefits to the electricity network and help Victoria reach its ambitious renewable energy targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

The Microgrid Demonstration Initiative is providing $10 million to support eight microgrid projects as part of the state government’s $146 million Renewable Energy Action Plan.

These investments are in addition to the $1.3 billion Solar Homes program, which will deliver half-priced solar panels to 650,000 Victorian households and solar hot water systems to 60,000 homes with no upfront cost.