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ARENA projects to deliver 200MW of capacity to grid

CTBR Staff Writer Published 12 October 2017

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) have joined forces on demand response trial to provide 200MW of emergency reserves for extreme peaks.

The organizations announced that 10 pilot projects have been awarded funding under the demand response initiative.

In total, the $35.7m initiative will deliver 200MW of capacity by 2020, with at least 143MW to be available for the upcoming summer.

For three years, these pilot projects will be trialled across the states of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, where they can free up temporary supply during extreme weather conditions such as prolonged summer heatwaves.

ARENA will provide a funding of $28.6m and New South Wales (NSW) government has committed to provide $7.2m for NSW-based projects.

Demand response is a system where in energy users are paid an incentive to reduce their power consumption, switch to backup generation or dispatch their energy storage for short periods when reserves of electricity reach critical levels.

These pilot projects will engage industrial and commercial businesses such as cold storage facilities, manufacturing plants and commercial buildings. Several hundreds of households are also expected to participate in this exchange of incentives.

Recipients of the funding include energy retailers, a Victorian energy distributor, a demand response aggregator, a Victorian smart thermostat developer and a South Australian metal foundry.

The pilot projects, in the coming months will engage with customers and start installing hardware to remotely monitor and control their energy consumption.

AEMO managing director and CEO, Audrey Zibelman stated that the projects would undergo testing by AEMO in November and would be up and running by December 2017.

She said: “These demand response projects will help manage spikes in peak demand in a cost effective way using our existing electricity infrastructure and clever new technology.

“It is clear that demand response has untapped potential to manage demand during extreme peaks in Australia, just as it does in other countries.

“We’re hopeful this will create the proof of concept for a new market mechanism that will ultimately be to the benefit of Australian consumers.”