Plico stablises WA grid for both minimum and peak demand

Plico solar installers talk to female homeowner while installing solar panels on the roof of the home (demand)
Image: Plico

As Western Australia braces for a hot dry summer, clean energy company Plico is on standby to activate its Virtual Power Plant (VPP) during possible peak demand episodes.

A VPP is a collection of associated individual, independent household solar and battery systems, known as distributed energy resources (DER), that are united remotely to form a VPP.

Related article: 5 Minutes With: Plico CEO Robbie Campbell

Plico’s VPP services have again been engaged by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to provide additional capacity to the grid through hundreds of its customer solar and battery systems.

Plico CEO Robbie Campbell said, “The VPP has already successfully supplied additional power to offset high household demand that would’ve otherwise strained the grid. Now we’re also stabilising the grid by doing the opposite, which truly demonstrates the power of the Plico VPP as a future solution to manage grid fluctuations and as a blackout prevention.”

Over the next 12 months Plico and Synergy are working together to activate a minimum demand solution, which is the state’s first minimum demand VPP. A minimum demand activation occurs during a mild sunny day when there is low demand for energy but high supply of solar energy.

A peak demand activation occurs when there is a combination of high temperatures, high-power usage, and existing low power reserves.

This will be the second summer Plico’s VPP will be on peak demand standby, with its first successful activations occurring in January and February 2023, where using cutting-edge technology, all Plico systems acted as one giant battery to export energy to the grid during peak usage.

“We’re proud to be called upon to provide grid stabilisation solutions in both oversupply and undersupply situations,” Campbell said.

“Energy fluctuations are significantly challenging in maintaining a stable and reliable grid, so to avoid disruptions to homes and businesses during such events, we’ve been testing a minimum demand solution with Synergy, while also mobilising our usual peak demand solution,” he said.

“To turn the heatwave into something good and provide clean energy back to the grid so houses don’t lose power, is why we exist. In a world where we demand action on climate change and being less reliant on fossil fuels, this is an opportunity to demonstrate the true power of a VPP, all through sunlight and battery storage.”

Related article: WA’s first Virtual Power Plant activated during heatwave

The growing Plico fleet currently has an aggregated battery of 17.8MWh and will make as much of this capacity available to the WA grid when there is peak demand. This is one of the most significant contributions ever made by an activated VPP aggregator (outside of trials) to the energy market across Australia.

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