WA has embraced renewable energy in a big way, contributing to cleaner, greener electricity. The shift to greener energy means positive things for the environment, however we’re seeing an increased strain on the electricity grid to keep up with this two-way demand. Excess energy is flowing into the grid in the middle of the day when the sun is shining and demand is low, while in the evenings, demand is high and the supply from rooftop solar is low.
The electricity grid was not designed for this two-way energy flow and fluctuation in supply and demand, therefore, we need to find new ways to manage the network, which is why Project Symphony was launched.
Project Symphony is an exciting and innovative pilot where eligible Distributed Energy Resources (DER) like rooftop solar, batteries and selected household appliances will be coordinated as part of a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). The Project Symphony VPP organises and aggregates the connected DER to generate and store electricity at a local level. While VPPs are made up of multiple electricity sources in various locations, they can be centrally coordinated to provide the same services to the electricity system as traditional thermal power plants, such as gas or coal-fired power stations. The Project Symphony VPP combines the energy sources of the DER and orchestrates them to smooth out the supply and demand for electricity.
The most powerful suburbs in WA
The pilot, which is due to run until mid-to-late 2023, will initially take place in Harrisdale, Piara Waters and Forrestdale. These suburbs have embraced renewable energy in a big way with over 50% of homes having rooftop solar. By testing new opportunities and technologies in these areas, the pilot will help discover how existing DER assets can be used to manage system security and achieve environmental benefits for the WA community.
The pilot is in its early stages and eligible customers will be contacted directly with the opportunity to express their interest to participate.
Third Party Aggregators
Synergy has signed contracts with Evergen and Rheem to supply third-party DER for Project Symphony. The contracts will enable Synergy to integrate Evergen and Rheem customer DER into Project Symphony, adding to over 600 assets already signed to the pilot.
Project Symphony is a collaboration between Synergy, Western Power, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) with support from Energy Policy WA. Project Symphony is a key deliverable of the State Government's DER Roadmap and Energy Transformation Strategy.
In addition to WA State funding, Project Symphony has also received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program.
The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Australian Government, and the Australian Government does not accept responsibility for any information or advice herein.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long will the pilot run for?
The Project Symphony pilot is scheduled to finish on 30 September 2023.
- How will the DER be accessed as part of the Project Symphony VPP?
DER assets connected to the Project Symphony VPP such as rooftop solar, batteries, air conditioners and hot water systems will be managed by the Project Symphony VPP software platform. Eligible assets of pilot participants will work together as a single power plant, to help manage the supply and demand on the electricity grid. Sophisticated software is used to adapt the connected DER to optimise grid conditions and to manage energy flows.
- How are the DER assets coordinated as a VPP?
Synergy will coordinate the VPP in real-time, in response to fast changing conditions on the electricity grid. These are typically at times when there is low demand across the electricity grid and high solar output, however, it may occur at any time.
- I’m interested in participating in Project Symphony, who should I contact?
Due to the strict eligibility criteria that applies to Project Symphony, at this stage, the pilot is only open to customers Synergy contacts directly to express their interest to participate in the pilot.