MELBOURNE, Australia and SAN FRANCISCO (March 16, 2017) ― Australia energy retailer AGL Energy (AGL) has been working for the past six months on the initial phase of what will be the largest residential Virtual Power Plant in the world, based in the city of Adelaide. The project, which has now gone live, will eventually aggregate storage in 1,000 Australian homes into a single dynamic energy source on the grid. Sunverge Energy, a leading provider of virtual power plant software and energy storage systems, along with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), are key partners in AGL’s project.
When completed in early 2018, the AGL virtual power plant will be capable of storing enough energy to provide an output equivalent to a 5-megawatt solar peaking plant. It will also provide greater grid stability, demonstrate alternative ways to manage peaks in demand and support the higher penetration of intermittent, renewable generation on the grid.
Managing Director & CEO Andy Vesey said the 5 MW peaking capacity of the VPP can help with security of supply and help customers to save on their energy bill.
“Our South Australian VPP demonstration is a practical example of the new energy future. We’re excited Australia’s largest operating VPP is ‘now live’ and the sixty plus batteries in homes across Adelaide are now linked by the smart software in our partner, Sunverge’s, cloud-based platform.
“This shows it can be done and done successfully. What we are currently seeing is the ability to simultaneously aggregate the battery discharge, which is a necessary step towards full orchestration capability. This also demonstrates the capability of the VPP to provide grid support services, including peak demand management and frequency control services, and we’ll share these results in our first public report in May this year.
“We believe the VPP will deliver benefits for multiple groups including for customers by reducing their energy bills, the network by lowering required capital investment to upgrade infrastructure, for AGL by providing another source of generation to deploy into the network with the balance used in our portfolio, and the environment through reduced emissions,” said Mr Vesey.
As of the end of phase one, the project has more than 300 kW of energy storage capacity, associated with more than 300 kW of solar production.
This not only represents the beginning of a service-based “grid of the future,” but also will demonstrate how VPPs can add vital flexibility to the power needs of Australia. VPPs, by aggregating stored solar energy from homes into a virtual power source that dynamically dispatches that energy locally, has the potential to significantly reduce the stress on the grid and make it more resilient.
For more details please see AGL press release here.
AGL is one of Australia’s leading integrated energy companies. It is taking action to responsibly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while providing secure and affordable energy to its customers. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL serves its customers throughout eastern Australia with meeting their energy requirements, including gas, electricity, solar PV and related products and services. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, solar, landfill gas and biomass.
About Sunverge Energy
San Francisco and Brisbane, Australia–based Sunverge Energy allows homeowners efficient management of their own renewable energy generation and helps utilities, retailers and solar power providers manage those renewable power sources and aggregate them into virtual power plants across neighborhoods, communities and entire service areas — reliably, effectively and intelligently. Founded in 2009, the company makes the Sunverge One, a fully integrated energy storage system, and the Sunverge Infinity, an energy management platform for managing third-party distributed energy resources. The Sunverge One and Sunverge Infinity increase energy reliability, strengthen the grid, and accelerate the adoption and integration of distributed renewable energy. Investors include AGL, the Southern Cross Renewable Energy Fund backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and SB China Venture Capital (SBCVC), MITSUI & Co., Siemens Venture Capital, Total Energy Ventures International and VisIR. For more information, please visit www.sunverge.com.