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Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has announced that Western Australia’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP) pilot, Project Symphony, has reached a major milestone by aggregating its first package of residentially generated energy.

Project Symphony has also successfully tested the intelligent systems required to orchestrate 200kW of energy over a simulated bi-directional balancing market trading interval.

AEMO Executive General Manager Western Australia and Strategy, Kate Ryan, said this was a major milestone for the pilot.

“This is the first step in realising the full capabilities of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) such as rooftop solar, batteries, and large appliances in supporting the energy transition to grids capable of handling 100 per cent instantaneous penetration,” Ms Ryan said.

“It is a significant milestone not only by the project partners involved, but for the future of Western Australia.” 

Project Symphony is a key deliverable of the Western Australia Government’s DER Roadmap.

The project partners include Western Power acting as the Distribution System Operator; Synergy acting as the Aggregator; and AEMO acting as the Distribution Market Operator. 

Project Symphony has received support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of ARENA’s Advanced Renewables Program.

Manager Distributed Markets Western Australia, Tom Butler, said that collaboration and knowledge sharing were essential in achieving this recent milestone and for the Pilot’s ongoing success.

“The system integration testing saw seven organisations, including project and technology partners across five different time zones, conduct 20 integration tests over five days,” Mr Butler said.

“It involved the partners’ platforms communicating with each other, providing both instructions and responses that support real electron flow changes to and from DER, whilst engaging with a simulated market environment. It is a great achievement for everyone involved.”

Project Symphony is now focussed on integrating more customers and additional third-party aggregators, with the objective of orchestrating 800-900 DER assets across 500 homes and businesses. 

The aim is to demonstrate how the VPP can respond to challenges to the power system whilst also delivering more value to customers from their assets enabling them to participate in current and future energy markets and services. 

Further testing will continue for different use case scenarios until the VPP system stability period commences, currently planned for October 2022.

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