AGL opens stage two of the virtual power plant ahead of schedule
AGL Energy Limited (AGL) today announced it has sold out its first release of 150 connected batteries, making South Australia one step closer to having the world’s largest virtual power plant (VPP) of its kind.
AGL Executive General Manager New Energy, Elisabeth Brinton said the first offer was so popular the second release of batteries was now open for sale well ahead of schedule.
“I am pleased that consumers have supported this industry-leading initiative which offers an innovative solution, not only to savings on energy bills, but also to potentially helping stabilise the grid.
“Being a part of the VPP means our customers will be able to consume more energy generated from their own rooftop solar systems, lowering their power bills and reducing emissions.
“We had a great deal of interest from the release of the first 150 batteries and I’m thrilled we can now open up the second phase of batteries for sale,” Ms Brinton said.
The 350 batteries released for sale in the second phase will be available to AGL customers that live in Metropolitan Adelaide and meet the eligibility criteria. They will be able to purchase the Sunverge 11.6 kWh battery at $3,849, which includes hardware, software and monitoring services and installation. This battery also includes 50 percent more capacity than the first offer battery, providing AGL customers more opportunity to save on their energy bills.
All AGL customers who have already purchased a battery as part of the VPP will be able to have their Sunverge 7.7 kWh battery upgraded to the larger 11.6 kWh battery at no extra cost.
For customers with sufficient excess solar generation, this is expected to result in a payback of seven years or less. Customers who do not have solar already will be able to purchase an appropriately-sized solar system packaged with their battery.
Battery installations are underway and to date nine AGL customers have had the connected batteries installed in their homes. Among those, is Campbelltown resident Katie, who said she was very excited to be involved in the project.
“We’re looking to save about $500 a year and that’s on top of the savings from our solar power system as well. We’d been looking into solar energy for a while and we thought this was a great opportunity for us. Great because we have a young family, it’ll obviously help us with our power bills, cut costs and also great for the environment,” Katie said.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing conditional funding of $5 million towards the $20 million project. Leading US-based energy storage and management company Sunverge is providing batteries and control systems for phase one of the project.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said ARENA was working to address the challenge of making energy systems more stable, both in South Australia and nationally, through projects such as the VPP.
“Storing and delivering energy at individual houses means power is available very close to where it’s being used, and that has a range of benefits.” Mr Frischknecht said.
“Instead of getting electricity from large power stations outside cities that’s fed across long power lines, sometimes from different states, households can now use power from the sun, captured and stored from their own roofs.”
AGL will focus the second phase of the project on distributing batteries to the suburbs of Campbelltown, Tea Tree Gully, Henley South and Ottoway, where the VPP can be used to demonstrate grid support capability. It is also hoped the project can demonstrate how relationships between electricity networks, retailers, consumers and the market operator can unlock new sources of value and support network reliability in a renewable energy future.
When complete, the VPP will include 1,000 digital, connected batteries installed at homes and small business across metropolitan Adelaide and will have an output equivalent to a 5 MW solar peaking plant.
People interested in being involved or to check their eligibility to the program can register online at agl.com.au/powerinnumbers or call one of AGL’s battery experts on 1300 447 465.
How it works:
When batteries are operated independently (outside of a connected system) they cannot be relied on to provide grid services. When working together at this scale, they can be used to provide grid stability services by discharging at a time that will be of greatest benefit for the customer and the community.
The VPP works by using a cloud-connected intelligent control system that allows the batteries to be managed in unison. The majority of the time this will help consumers to self-consume their stored solar power, benefiting both them and the broader community to manage peaks in electricity demand.
AGL is one of Australia’s leading integrated energy companies. It is taking action to responsibly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while providing secure and affordable energy to its customers. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL serves its customers throughout eastern Australia with meeting their energy requirements, including gas, electricity, solar PV and related products and services. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, solar, landfill gas and biomass.