At Synergy, we’re on a mission to help create more sustainable communities and put emerging technology to the test in WA. In this case, in conjunction with Lendlease and DevelopmentWA we ran a four-year trial, the Alkimos Beach Energy Trial.
How the trial worked
There were three main elements to the Alkimos Beach Energy Trial:
- In April 2016, a 1.1 MWh community scale Lithium Ion energy storage device – the community battery was installed for the trial .
- Trial participants were charged for their electricity based on the time of day it was consumed (known as a time-of-use tariff) on the Peak Demand Saver Plan.
- Participants were able to make the most of their solar PV system by virtually# storing the excess energy generated.
The community battery, housed in a shipping container, is still connected to the electricity grid and helps transmit and distribute electricity to the Alkimos Beach community. During the trial, the battery was used to offset the electricity use of participants during the peak demand period. The battery charged from the grid during periods when demand was low (generally early afternoon and overnight) and discharged during peak demand periods (generally late afternoon and early evening) when insufficient solar energy was being generated.
Using a community-scale Lithium-Ion energy storage device provided us with insights into the benefits of integrating renewable generation, energy storage and dispatch into an established, traditional electricity grid.
Customer benefits from the trial
Residents that lived within the Alkimos Beach estate were invited to participate in the trial on a voluntary basis and subject to the trial terms and conditions. They were informed that they could potentially save on their electricity costs, depending on several factors including:
- The size of their solar PV system
- The daily electricity usage and consumption habits of the householdThe installation of energy-efficient appliances and devices
- How effectively participants could manage the use of electricity at different times of the day
- Whether they could reduce the overall amount of electricity used in the home
Customers reported these benefits from the trial:
- A better understanding of how to manage their electricity consumption and costs
- The opportunity to contribute to a whole of community sustainability approach and become advocates for energy efficient practices within their local community
Through a series of energy coaching sessions, participants provided key insights into how they were managing their electricity usage and reducing their overall consumption.
These sessions introduced participants to time-of-use electricity with the Peak Demand Saver Plan and helped them to learn more about solar PV systems and battery storage solutions.
Results from the trial
The Alkimos Beach Energy Trial provided valuable insights on how community-scale infrastructure, combined with energy-efficiency incentives, could help to manage and reduce household electricity costs.
The trial enabled us to explore our customers’ understanding and interest in a community battery product and learn from the benefits participants enjoyed from a shared energy storage solution.
As a community, participants in the Alkimos Beach Energy Trial saved a total of $81,376.99 on their collective electricity bills being part of the trial.*
|Number of participants
|1.1 MWh battery
|Average total savings per participant*
|Average savings per bill*
|Average solar system size~
To break this down...
Homes with two occupants
Saved an average of $34.89 a month^
Households of four
Saved an average of $54.58 a month^
Exploring the power of community batteries
We’re now working with industry participants on advanced energy trials to embrace new technologies and innovation, find solutions to grid or network issues and adapt and scale to meet the demands of our customers and changes in the electricity market.
By offering a broad range of innovative products and services, we are helping to provide electricity solutions for all Western Australians for an intelligent energy future.
There's much more to learn about them and how they can play a role in WA's energy mix.
Learn more about our battery trials
Across a range of locations in the SWIS, the PowerBank pilot allowed participants to make the most of their solar PV system by virtually# storing excess energy generated. Participants were also able to take advantage of time-of-use pricing to maximise the potential benefits of a battery storage solution, without the upfront costs. Learn more about the three phases of the PowerBank pilot.Explore PowerBank
Community batteries can provide our customers the opportunity to use excess energy generated by solar during the day. Community batteries could also provide a cost-effective electricity storage solution that offers benefits to our customers and the electricity network as a whole.Learn about community batteries
# By virtual, we mean there is no physical battery connected to the premises storing electricity generated. Individual customers were allocated virtual storage capacity in the battery based on the storage option selected and the relevant pilot terms and conditions.
~ Average solar PV system sizes of Synergy residential customers as at 1 February 2019.
* Total collective savings is calculated by comparing the costs all 119 participants in the Alkimos Beach Energy Trial incurred on the Peak Demand Saver Plan (including daily supply charges and the daily subscription fee) while a participant in the trial against the costs they would have incurred on the standard Synergy Home Plan (A1) (the regulated residential tariff) for the same period. The average total savings per participant is indicative only and determined by dividing the total collective savings by the number of pilot participants. The average saving per bill is indicative only and determined by dividing the average total saving per participant by the number of bills a participant would have received if they were on the trial for its entire duration.
^ Average savings by occupancy is indicative only based on occupancy as advised to Synergy over the trial as at March 2021 and calculated for each occupancy type by comparing the average costs participants of the occupancy type in the Alkimos Beach Energy Trial incurred on the Peak Demand Saver Plan (including daily supply charges and the daily subscription fee) while they were participating in the trial against the costs they would have incurred on the standard Synergy Home Plan (A1) (the regulated residential tariff) for the same period.