Melbourne energy-tech company GreenSync has secured a major deal with British utility company UK Power Networks, which will see the company’s software deployed across British homes in the Australian firms first major play into the United Kingdom.
GreenSync’s Decentralised Energy Exchange (deX) software platform has been selected to provide a Distributed Energy Resource (DER) marketplace for UK Power Networks, and will be integrated into the network operator’s Active Network Management system, in what it anticipates will be the world’s most advanced network control system.
The system will help coordinate more than 500MW of distributed energy capacity, managing the output from primarily renewable energy sources, including wind and solar. The deX system will contribute to a simplified and faster network connection process for distributed energy resources.
The deal is the first commercial project in the UK for Melbourne-based GreenSync, with the company playing an active role in the development of virtual power plants in Australia.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be selected for this project. While deX was initially developed in response to Australia’s grid challenges with the increasing penetration of solar, it is being adopted for commercial applications internationally as networks move to a more decentralised, flexible architecture,” GreenSync CEO, Phil Blythe said.
GreenSync will participate in the deal with two other firms, worth £15 million, and will provide the equivalent of 5 per cent of the UK’s grid demand in demand response.
In developing the DER management system, GreenSync will partner with Smarter Grid Solutions and Nexant, providing a package of market management, grid control and analytics services for UK Power Networks.
“We are proud to be working with the UK Power Networks and our partners SGS and Nexant in this globally significant, commercial project that will realise a more flexible, efficient energy system and underpin the practical application of the Distribution System Operator (DSO) model,” Blythe said.
CTO and founder of Smarter Grid Solutions Bob Currie echoed the optimism created by a shift towards adopting the ‘distribution system operator’ approach to managing networks.
“This was the most comprehensive distributed energy resources management system (DERMS) tender to come to market, bringing together market and technical platforms to allow UKPN to switch from functioning as a passive distribution network operator (DNO) to becoming a fully active and engaged distribution system operator (DSO), which can monitor and control DER of any type and size, across any time horizon,” Currie said.
The adoption of the ‘distribution system operator’ approach would see network companies take a more proactive role in managing interactions between a distribution network and the wider energy market, taking on greater responsibility for managing and coordinating distributed energy systems to manage network constraints and maintain the reliability of supply.
GreenSync’s deX system will be used to provide a marketplace for distributed energy systems and will facilitate demand response on a least-cost basis. The project will enable UK Power Networks to defer or avoid unnecessary network upgrades, and potentially allow for distributed energy systems to supply power to homes during power outages.
Greensync recently secured an additional $10 million in ARENA funding, to support the roll-out of its Decentralised Energy Exchange (deX) software, as part of a $32 million demonstration of its virtual power plant capabilities.
“As Australia is leading the charge with this technology globally, GreenSync sees a significant export opportunity for this and other innovative energy technologies in the deX ecosystem to meet the challenge of powering our grids by 100% renewables,” Blythe said at the time.
GreenSync publicly opened its deX platform to Australian participants late last year, allowing owners of distributed energy systems to “plug” into the demand response marketplace. Having secured partnerships with a range of inverter and energy management system providers, GreenSync estimated that up to 70% of the Australian market for solar and battery storage would be compatible with the deX platform.
The demand management system being developed for UK Power Networks is expected to go live in late 2019 and will operate for a period of 5 years.