Simply Energy to build 8MW virtual power plant in Adelaide

Rooftop solar panels (smart energy)
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Simply Energy has announced it will build a $23 million virtual power plant (VPP) in Adelaide.

The project will see Tesla Powerwall 2 home batteries delivered to up to 1200 Adelaide households representing 6MW of residential energy storage.

A further 2MW of demand response capacity will be deployed across 10 commercial businesses.

The three-year trial will give South Australia Power Networks (SAPN) greater visibility of behind the meter battery storage and access to those batteries as distributed energy resources that can be used to address local network constraints and manage demand.

The VPP project will also develop Greensync’s innovative distributed energy exchange, or ‘deX’ platform, to a commercial scale.

Simply Energy CEO Carly Wishart said Adelaide households would be able to participate in the trial, which will see the home battery system delivered at a subsidised price.

“Simply Energy is proud to be able to deliver this innovative solution that helps our customers reduce their energy costs while also providing additional energy security in South Australia,” she said.

“We will work closely with SAPN to give both networks and the market operator greater visibility of behind-the-meter batteries and the ability to use batteries to manage demand and manage network constraints, reducing network costs.

“It’s a win-win because our customers are getting better value from their renewable energy solution and the network will have more electricity sources from which to draw, which in turn improves reliability, particularly at times of peak demand.”

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $7.7 million in funding for the project.

The VPP will be the second in South Australia after ARENA previously provided $5 million in funding to AGL to establish a virtual power plant of 1000 households and businesses across Adelaide.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said this project would build on the AGL VPP.

“We think consumer energy resources have a huge role to play in Australia’s energy future, but we are still figuring out how we can orchestrate rooftop solar and home batteries to feed back into the grid. This is technically hard to do, which is why these pilot projects are so important,” he said.

“This is a potential model for how distributed energy resources can be operated at large scale in the future to help reduce energy prices.

“This trial will also demonstrate the commercial benefits of integrating a virtual power plant into a distributed energy market platform such as deX.”

Consultants Marchment Hill and Flex are also involved in the Simply Energy consortium developing and managing the project.

The virtual power plant is expected to be up and running by the end of 2019.

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