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WA’s energy landscape is changing

As the electricity system evolves, there’s more rooftop solar, more community and household battery systems, and more people and organisations looking for smarter, more reliable and more affordable energy than ever before.

We’re working on energy pilots, new technology and new ways of thinking to help WA move into an intelligent energy future. If you have questions about what this looks like, here’s where you might like to start.

What is a virtual power plant? 

Watch this short video and learn the basics about virtual power plants (VPPs), including how they work and how you could benefit.
 

What is the difference between a traditional power plant and a VPP?

A “traditional” power plant, such as a gas or coal-fired power station, provides centralised generation of electricity that is transported to local electricity distribution networks where it is used by customers within their homes and businesses.

A “virtual” power plant (or VPP) has the ability to organise and aggregate multiple small distributed energy resources that generate and store electricity at a local level. This can include household systems such as roof-top solar PV, batteries and electric vehicles, or larger systems installed at commercial and industrial facilities. It could even include community-scale batteries that are shared across a neighborhood. While VPPs are made up of multiple smaller independent energy systems, they can still be centrally coordinated, or orchestrated, to provide the same services to the electricity system as traditional centralised generation, keeping supply and demand for electricity in balance for everyone.

The benefits of Virtual Power Plants

Cost benefits

In some cases, VPPs may allow customers to unlock even more value from their distributed energy resources (such as their solar PV or battery) through compensation for services.

Stability

VPP’s are sometimes referred to as ‘decentralised’ energy systems. These can help to keep the system stable by storing and sharing renewable energy between a community.

Cleaner energy

VPPs could allow even more solar PV systems to be installed on our electricity networks so we can continue to transition to a cleaner and greener energy system.

VPPs across Australia

Australia is getting ready for renewables on a large scale – and we’re in one of the best places in the world for VPPs. We receive a lot of sunshine hours, we collectively own huge numbers of solar systems and, as a population, we’re very interested in exploring new renewable energy technology.

Australia is already home to some VPP trials, including in:

  • South Australia – where 1,100 public housing properties were fitted with solar and battery storage systems as the first customers in the SA Government VPP trial in 2019
  • Canberra – where 600 battery storage systems have been installed through the Next Generation Energy Storage Program. Tasmania – where CONSORT is running a battery trial on Bruny Island, coordinating 40 systems to reduce congestion on the undersea power supply cable.

Here in WA, the DER Roadmap outlined by the State Government explores the opportunity for VPPs to be integrated into the generation portfolio, paving the way for a more intelligent energy future. 

Find out more below:

Other energy trials happening in WA

Learn more

Watch a video about the Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap

Learn more