A 1 MW virtual power plant (VPP) trial has been launched by electricity supplier Ausgrid and Canberra-based management and control technology provider Reposit Power, with 233 customers throughout NSW, including 170 suburbs in Sydney, the Central Coast region and the Hunter Valley. The trial is open to households that already have Reposit Power’s battery management systems installed. It promises annual savings of up to AUD $135 for the energy exported to the grid from customers’ batteries.
The trial is delivered by the Power2U initiative, which is offering incentives to permanently reduce demand through measures such as solar PV and LED lighting to reduce household power bills, while avoiding costly network upgrades in parts of Sydney with low renewables uptake. Ausgrid’s Power2U scheme is part of a broader AUD $7 million demand management innovation program.
While it previously offered incentive schemes for its customers, Ausgrid is now exploring the advantages of orchestrating distributed energy resources into VPPs.
“This is the first program of its type for Ausgrid,” said Ausgrid CEO, Richard Gross. “Solutions like a virtual power plant not only help customers, it helps the grid. If the trial is successful, it could provide a lower cost alternative to grid investment, which would result in lower customer bills in the long term.”
While VPPs can be tasked with balancing the grid and facilitating the integration of renewables into existing energy systems, they are also appealing to a wide range of stakeholders, including utilities, energy suppliers, and solar+storage system owners, because they represent an additional revenue stream.
Australia boasts a growing pipeline of VPP projects. Reposit Power co-founder and CEO, Dean Spaccavento, said that the future of energy is happening now, and Australia is leading the charge.
“VPPs are the next step in Australia’s energy revolution,” said Spaccavento. “We are confident that this trial will demonstrate the value of our clean, flexible and cost effective VPPs to individual households and the wider community.”
The partnership with Reposit is the first stage of Ausgrid’s VPP program. To enable greater customer choice and expand the project, Ausgrid will invite other companies from the demand-response market to participate later this year. Customers can register their interest with Ausgrid to receive updates on the progress of VPP here.