Monday, June 24, 2024

Virtual power pilot pays off for WA

The WA Government’s pilot of virtual power plant (VPP) technology has found redistributing excess power produced by residential solar panels, appliances and home batteries could create more than $920 million in value in the coming decade.

Project Symphony – a collaboration between Synergy, Western Power, and the Australian Energy Market Operator with support and oversight from Energy Policy WA – was launched in February 2021 to demonstrate the ways in which VPPs can support power system security and network reliability while delivering greater value to electricity users.

More than 500 customers and 900 devices participated in the project.

The project’s final report highlighted the opportunity VPPs could provide in Western Australia and the need for policy and regulatory changes to help integrate VPPs with the State’s power system.

It includes 18 recommendations that will enable VPPs to be developed in real-world settings.

“Thanks to Project Symphony, we now know solar power and batteries can address system and network challenges, benefit the community, and support decarbonisation,” said Energy Minister, Reece Whitby.

“Rooftop solar is already a key part of Western Australia’s energy transition.

“Integrating distributed energy into our State’s electricity market has the potential to unlock even greater value for households, and I look forward to seeing how policy and regulatory changes can support its uptake.”

The Minister said Western Australians have embraced distributed energy resources (DER) in recent years, with rooftop solar installed in 40% of homes on WA’s main grid and about 30,000 new systems installed each year.

The release of Project Symphony’s final report comes after Parliament recently passed legislation to modernise the State’s energy governance framework and enable improved integration of DER.

The project received $8 million through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s Advancing Renewables Program, with the final report available¬†here.

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