Demand response solar solution for summer blackouts

Electricity market in Australia supported by Tasmanian pumped hydro storage.Australian Renewable Energy Agency funds Tasmanian study.

A solar energy demand response solution will relieve pressure on the national grid this summer.

The low-cost scheme called Powershop also allows consumers to control power use during times of peak load.

Demand response has been successful overseas and will undergo a three-year trial in Victoria, NSW and South Australia.

The $35.7 million program is funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and NSW Government. It should subsequently free up:

  • 200 MW of capacity by 2020.
  • Supply twice the amount of electricity as South Australia’s Tesla battery.

How the demand response solution works

Powershop aims to change consumer power use and behaviour by offering savings on electricity bills.

Demand response solution to summer blackouts in Australia.

Consumers use smart technology to control energy use under new scheme. Image: Pixabay

Consumers will therefore be asked to opt-in to the program. They will make key concessions during peak demand in return for electricity discounts.

They can reduce consumption by:

  • Turning off appliances like air-conditioners.
  • Turning up the air-conditioner thermostat by a couple of degrees.
  • Switching to backup generation.
  • Allowing the network to access their home solar power and energy storage batteries.

The program initially involves 10 projects from eight companies across the three states.

Homeowners and businesses can therefore take charge of electricity usage and reap the financial rewards, ARENA claims.

Demand response relies on smart technology

Consumers can also monitor power use and communicate with their power company via apps, metering options and control devices.

ARENA Chief Executive Ivor Frischknecht says the Powershop demand response solution will quickly create a “virtual power plant” the size of two of Tesla’s giant 100 MW batteries.

Victoria’s Monash University is trialling provision of ‘firm’ capacity to the grid. So, the University can feed stored battery power back to the grid in times of high demand.

Households and businesses are also being encouraged to offer battery power when needed.

This will subsequently create a network of smart, inter-connected solar storage batteries in homes and businesses across Australia.