The Origin Energy demand management trial in South Australia has proved so successful it will now be rolled out nationally.
Practical examples of demand management technology include Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) which network individual home batteries into a single energy source.
There are also schemes in which households agree with retailers to cut energy use in periods of peak demand.
In Origin’s case, the company teamed with UK startup Tempus Energy. It used Tempus Energy’s cloud-based software to help large commercial customers manage their power use more effectively.
Origin Energy demand management: time-shifting energy
The main goal of Origin Energy’s demand management is to shift consumer energy use to help the grid function more efficiently.
By shifting demand to off-peak times like overnight or weekends, solar panel system owners can help keep a steady amount of power in the grid.
During the South Australian trial customers saved money by avoiding higher price periods in favour of times when demand and price were lower.
Household demand management via virtual power plant
However, it’s not only large companies that benefit from demand management.
Energy generation and storage is changing. Homes and small businesses are now generating their own power, rather than relying on large centralised power stations. Networked into VPPs, these can form a significant energy supply.
Origin Energy is currently building a 5 MW virtual power plant in Victoria. This will connect over 600 households and businesses using solar installations and solar battery storage to generate clean, affordable energy.
Victoria’s Labor Government provided $4.5 million to support the project and the grant forms part of Labor’s $10 million Microgrid Demonstration Initiative.
The network can then trade and share this pooled power, or sell it to the grid.
This reduces carbon emissions and stress on the main electricity grid. However, it also means lower power bills for solar owners who have far greater control over their energy use.
Demand management trial successfully reduces emissions
The Origin Energy trial saw a shift in customers’ electricity behaviour. Power use moved to different times of the day to avoid peak tariff periods.
Customers also reduced carbon emissions by up to 21 per cent on assets where the technology was used.
Origin and Tempus will now roll out the system for customers across Australia.