The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) will run a virtual power plant (VPP) integration trial with the support of the Federal Government.

The trial will explore how a network of small-scale solar PV and battery systems can be collectively controlled and fed into the electricity grid. As part of the trial, AEMO will engage with other virtual power plant trials already underway around Australia.

The integration of this new generation capacity, which can be managed by AEMO and contribute to grid stability, is becoming increasingly important.

VPPs can save consumers money while turning a collection of separate, fluctuating power sources into one smooth, reliable energy source. VPPs can also provide increasingly valuable market services such as frequency control, reactive power and voltage control (FCAS).

This project is the first phase in AEMO’s strategic plan to integrate distributed energy resources into energy and FCAS markets. AEMO forecasts a rapid expansion of up to 700MW of VPPs operating in the NEM by 2022.

Through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Government is providing $2.46 million towards the $4.9 million project which will run over a 12 to 18 month period.

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