Pilot projects tackle supply
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.