$ 8.6 million in funding for the distributed energy resources pilot project

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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced funding of $ 8.6 million to Western Power to develop a pilot project in Perth focused on the development and exploitation of distributed energy resources (DER) within the system interconnected south-west (SWIS).

The $ 35.5 million project, known as Project Symphony, is being undertaken over two years in partnership with Western Power, energy retailer WA Synergy and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

ARENA is contributing $ 8.6 million to the project, the Government of Western Australia $ 19.3 million and AEMO $ 7.6 million.

The Symphony project is a unique pilot project where around 500 clients with over 900 DER assets such as rooftop solar power, battery storage and major appliances, will be orchestrated as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP).

Additional DER assets will be brought online through the participation of third-party aggregators in a later phase of the project.

The project will explore and better understand how the innovative use of DER can deliver affordability benefits to customers and grid security, reduce emissions, and help strengthen the state economy and wholesale market. Energy.

Funding of $ 26.9 million was secured and announced for its development by the Government of Western Australia and AEMO in February 2021.

Funding for the Symphony project will go towards the development, integration and testing of software systems that manage power distribution, market operation and market aggregation. Together, these will support the effective monitoring and coordination of a high volume of predominantly client DER assets.

If the Symphony project is successful, it will help identify the investment required to further expand DER’s role, with the project being a major component of the Western Australian Government’s DER roadmap.

ARENA: adapting the network to support the use of renewable energies

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the Symphony project aims to adapt grid management to support greater adoption of rooftop solar, home batteries and other DER assets.

“DER presents an opportunity to increase value for the consumer and reduce costs for all consumers. The rapid growth in DER adoption reflects that households are taking advantage of the rapid development of new technologies to store and manage energy, reinforced by recent state government incentive programs, ”Miller said.

“However, without proper coordination of the DER, network operators may have to reduce the production of the DER to manage the constraints.

“The Symphony project aims to solve these problems and highlight the benefits that orchestration can bring to consumers and the energy system. “

Find out how PV can lower electricity prices

Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the project was important to help understand how solar power and rooftop batteries could be centrally orchestrated for balance large-scale electricity supply.

“Australians are adopting rooftop solar power at an unprecedented rate. Solar adoption is particularly strong in Western Australia, where more than 1.8 gigawatts of small-scale solar power have been installed by households and businesses, and where around one in three homes is now equipped. solar power on the roof, ”Taylor said.

“As this continues to grow, it is crucial to understand how solar power and batteries can work to lower costs for all electricity customers and strengthen power grids, rather than undermine reliability. ”

WA Senator Matt O’Sullivan said this is an exciting project for the state.

“This funding will help us secure and strengthen our electricity grids as residents continue to embrace new sources of electricity,” said O’Sullivan.

“It also ensures that Western Australia is leading the way, ensuring the sustainability of our electricity grid as we continue to embrace non-traditional electricity and distributed energy resources.”

Western Australia’s Energy Minister Bill Johnston said the Symphony project would pave the way for the future of Western Australia’s sustainable electricity sector.

“Virtual power plants could be the future of electricity in WA,” said Johnston.

“We currently have power plants, at the edge of our networks, with a lot of wires carrying high voltages for hundreds of kilometers.

“But in the future, houses will become the powerhouse thanks to their solar roofs.

“The Symphony project will test how increased access to renewable energy can benefit communities and is a major deliverable of the DER roadmap. “

Southern River region invited to participate

Jandakot MP Yaz Mubarakai said it was an exciting announcement for the Southern River region.

“About 500 homes and businesses will be invited to participate in Piara Waters and Harrisdale, where 50% of homes have adopted rooftop solar power.

“The Symphony project will demonstrate how increased access to renewable energy can benefit communities across Western Australia. “

AEMO’s Executive Director General in WA, Cameron Parrotte, said the pilot project “will facilitate the industry collaboration and consumer input that we need to ensure that the community in Western Australia enjoys a safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy “.

The amount of rooftop solar power installed in Western Australia is expected to continue to accelerate to reach one in two households by 2030.

AEMO Director, Distributed Markets WA, Tom Butler, said: “The Symphony project will test not if, but how, we will best implement the transition to a high DER future where DER orchestration is also used in a business environment, where consumers can benefit from being active market participants.

Synergy has started recruiting eligible customers for the trial, which is expected to run until June 2023.


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