Simply Energy to deliver a second virtual power plant in SA


Simply Energy will build a second virtual power plant across Adelaide with a funding assistance from ARENA.

The $23 million project, which is backed by ARENA with $7 million in funding, will deliver Tesla Powerwall 2 home batteries to up to 1200 Adelaide households representing 6 MW of residential energy storage.

Once completed, it will be the second virtual power plant in South Australia after ARENA previously provided $5 million in funding to AGL to establish a virtual power plant of 1,000 households and businesses across Adelaide.

“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,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.

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

Simply Energy CEO Carly Wishart said the virtual power plant is expected to be up and running by the end of 2019.

“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 continued.

“We will work closely with South Australian Power Networks 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.”

A virtual power plant is a centrally-managed network of battery systems installed behind-the-meter that can be collectively controlled to deliver benefits to households, energy retailers and the local network.

It allows users customers to benefit from reduced power costs as they are able to increase the amount of rooftop solar power they consume by storing the solar-generated energy and using it later when they would otherwise be consuming power from the grid.

Additionally, the battery systems are also able to provide backup power in the event of an outage.

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