Following a successful initial trial, Ausgrid will proceed with the second phase of its Battery Virtual Power Plant (VPP) project.
Phase two of the project will expand the scope and scale of the VPP, and is part of Ausgrid’s broader Power2U Program that seeks to provide more choice to its customers about the way they use their energy in their home to reduce their energy costs.
Ausgrid will partner with renewable energy software provider Evergen to deliver the second phase.
The trial’s expansion means the potential for additional Ausgrid customers joining the program, which aims to explore a more flexible way of managing the grid, especially with an increase in residential power use due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evergen CEO and Managing Director, Ben Hutt, said in spite of the crises Australia has faced this year, energy – particularly clean energy – can offer significant cost savings in these uncertain times.
Mr Hutt said with tighter cost controls and the ability for customers to earn extra money from their battery (while supporting the grid), this disruptive period is a favourable time for customers to elect to join the program, with 33 per cent of Evergen’s customers already opted in to participate.
“This is a great opportunity for Ausgrid customers with an Evergen system (or a Tesla or AlphaESS battery purchased from another distributor) to trial this revolutionary new way of integrating with the grid,” Mr Hutt said.
“In the near future, customers with batteries will get paid on an ongoing basis for participating in initiatives such as this.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Ausgrid to help consumers unlock further energy savings for Australian homes.
“This pilot program is one of a number of network initiatives Evergen is involved in across the country and will build a case for much broader roll-out and adoption of battery technology.
As the network infrastructure moves to be smarter, having these controls in homes allows customers to earn revenue from the grid for controlling their loads, for example, turning down their air-conditioning.
“Initiatives such as this will support the mass adoption of batteries as part of the network infrastructure, as the economics improve significantly with paybacks coming down to roughly five years depending on location and usage.
“At this level, mass adoption becomes possible, and it’s the Evergen software that can enable this at scale”
Ausgrid launched a 1MW VPP in March 2019, which resulted in 270 of its customers across 170 suburbs in Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter using residential batteries to export stored power back into the grid. On average, its customers fed 1.8kW into the grid, reducing each household’s power bills during the four-month trial period.