Origin to develop Victoria's largest virtual power plant

Origin Energy

Wednesday, 05 September, 2018

Origin to develop Victoria's largest virtual power plant

Origin Energy will develop its first virtual power plant in Victoria, following a $4.5 million grant from the Victorian Government as part of a major investment in microgrid technology.

A microgrid is a small network of electricity users with a local supply of power that can function independently of the electricity grid, delivering energy security, sustainability and cost savings for those in the network. The Victorian Government’s Microgrid Demonstration Initiative is providing $10 million to support eight statewide microgrid projects totalling more than $37 million in value.

The $20 million Origin Energy Virtual Power Plant (VPP) aims to boost grid stability by discharging power from solar PV and batteries located at homes and commercial and industrial sites to reduce their power bills. The cloud-based project is expected to distribute power from up to 650 customers with solar PV and batteries during peak periods.

Up to 5 MW of electricity generated and stored by connected properties will become part of Origin’s broader wholesale portfolio and integrated with the Brisbane-based Monitoring and Support Centre for dispatch into the National Electricity Market, much like a traditional centralised power plant. The selected customers will meanwhile receive discounted batteries, demonstrating opportunities for coordinating solar PV, batteries and flexible demand across Victoria.

“A record number of Australians are embracing solar and we’re delighted to be partnering with the Victorian Government to see how we can deliver benefits across the network and ultimately lower costs for customers,” said Origin Executive General Manager Retail Jon Briskin.

“By offering trial participants access to cheaper batteries and solar PV systems, and connecting these to our demand management platforms, we will be able to help customers manage their stored and generated electricity, have this traded into the electricity market and reduce demand placed on the existing electricity network.

“The development of a virtual power plant brings together several initiatives Origin has been trialling to help customers embrace the benefits of distributed and decentralised energy.”

The VPP is expected to provide benefits to the electricity network and help Victoria reach its renewable energy targets of 25% by 2020 and 40% by 2025. Information on how Victorian customers can participate in the initiative will be available later this year.

Image credit: ©destina/Dollar Photo Club

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