Pilot projects tackle sup­ply

Benalla Ensign - - Fire Action Week -

The Aus­tralian Re­new­able En­ergy Agency (ARENA) and the Aus­tralian En­ergy Mar­ket Op­er­a­tor (AEMO) have an­nounced 10 pilot projects which have been awarded fund­ing un­der the de­mand re­sponse ini­tia­tive to man­age elec­tric­ity sup­ply dur­ing ex­treme peaks.

The $35 mil­lion ini­tia­tive will de­liver 200 megawatts of ca­pac­ity by 2020, with at least 143 MW to be avail­able this sum­mer.

The pilot projects will be tri­alled in Vic­to­ria to free up tem­po­rary sup­ply dur­ing ex­treme weather, such as the pro­longed sum­mer heat­wave ex­pected this year, and un­planned out­ages.

On be­half of the Aus­tralian Govern­ment, ARENA has com­mit­ted $28.6 mil­lion to fund set-up and op­er­a­tional costs for the projects.

De­mand re­sponse in­volves pay­ing an in­cen­tive for en­ergy users to re­duce their power con­sump­tion, switch to back-up gen­er­a­tion or dis­patch their en­ergy stor­age for short pe­ri­ods when elec­tric­ity re­serves reach crit­i­cally low levels.

De­mand re­sponse is com­monly used over­seas to avoid un­planned or in­vol­un­tary out­ages, ease elec­tric­ity price spikes and pro­vide grid sup­port ser­vices.

The pilot projects will en­gage large-scale in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial busi­nesses, such as cold stor­age fa­cil­i­ties, man­u­fac­tur­ing plants and com­mer­cial build­ings.

Tens of thou­sands of house­holds are also ex­pected to vol­un­tar­ily sign up to par­tic­i­pate in ex­change for in­cen­tives.

In the com­ing months, the pilot projects will be en­gag­ing cus­tomers and in­stalling hard­ware to re­motely mon­i­tor and con­trol their en­ergy us­age.

The pro­gram, which was launched in May and run as a com­pet­i­tive round, is the flag­ship ini­tia­tive of ARENA and AEMO’s col­lab­o­ra­tion to test con­cept projects to sup­port grid se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity.

AEMO man­ag­ing direc- tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Au­drey Zi­bel­man said the projects would un­dergo test­ing in Novem­ber and would be up and run­ning by De­cem­ber.

‘‘Th­ese de­mand re­sponse projects will help man­age spikes in peak de­mand in a cost-ef­fec­tive way us­ing our ex­ist­ing elec­tric­ity in­fra­struc­ture and clever new tech­nol­ogy,’’ Ms Zi­bel­man said.

‘‘It is clear that de­mand re­sponse has un­tapped po­ten­tial to man­age de­mand dur­ing ex­treme peaks in Aus­tralia, just as it does in other coun­tries.

‘‘We’re hope­ful this will cre­ate the proof of con­cept for a new mar­ket mech­a­nism that will ul­ti­mately be to the ben­e­fit of Aus­tralian con­sumers.’’

Sav­ing en­ergy: The de­mand re­sponse ini­tia­tive aims to re­duce black­outs.

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