Toowoomba council joins electricity trial

Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) has become the first council in Queensland to join the Yurika Virtual Power Plant.

The VPP remotely draws electricity from customers around the state to bolster supply during peak demand from the control room at Ergon Energy’s CBD headquarters.

“The Yurika Virtual Power Plant has been developed specifically to optimise customers’ energy usage to lower costs and ultimately lower energy prices across the market,” Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said.

“Reducing electricity usage at peak times makes good sense for the council and for ratepayers.”

TRC Water and Waste Chair Cr Nancy Sommerfield said council had signed an agreement that incorporated 11 of the council’s largest electricity demand sites on the water network including dams and major pumping stations.

“This automated system – a cloud-based load control system – will enable Yurika, in collaboration with their customers, to curtail supply required during peak energy demand events,” she said.

“The financial benefit of this partnership means during a time of high demand, council’s assets can be switched off, supporting the council to reduce its energy bill and share potential savings gained by a reduction of demand.

“The other important benefit is the opportunity to use Yurika’s VPP to reduce the load during peak times, therefore lowering the risk of black-outs or brown-outs on the general network.

“The need to pump water long distances and uphill for our water supply means council is a large electricity user.”

Yurika executive general manager Charles Rattray said he was very happy with the arrangement, which would be of enormous benefit to people in Toowoomba and surrounding areas.

“Yurika is very proud of the work its partners such as TCC have done to support their community,” he said.

“We are excited to have TRC as our first council subscribers to the Yurika Virtual Power Plant and encourage all regions to take their lead to support lower cost overall for ratepayers.”