Electricity distribution company Ausgrid and distributed energy leader Reposit Power have launched a trial 1MW virtual power plant (VPP) with 233 customers across 170 suburbs across Sydney, the Central Coast, and the Hunter region of New South Wales.
The trial is open to those who want to participate, and customers taking part will receive direct cash payments from Ausgrid of up to $135 a year via Reposit, which will allow the electricity from household batteries to be directed back into the grid as necessary.
Specifically, customers will be paid for the energy they supply to the grid when Ausgrid activates signals to customers’ batteries through the customer’s Reposit software, which in turn lowers their energy costs.
The trial is being delivered by Ausgrid’s Power2U initiative which is part of a broader $7 million demand management innovation program. Ausgrid CEO Richard Gross said that this is one of the ways which his company is engaging with partners and customers to shape the future of energy.
“This is the first program of its type for Ausgrid. Solutions like a virtual power plant not only help customers, it helps the grid,” said Gross. “If the trial is successful, it could provide a lower cost alternative to grid investment, which would result in lower customer bills in the long term.”
For the uninitiated, a virtual power plant is the term generally used for a network of connected residential batteries which, when necessary, can be directed to provide their stored energy back into the grid to help stabilise grid fluctuations and volatility.