Project Symphony – Virtual Power Plant Project to Connect Over 500 Homes and Businesses

Western Australian Labor state government is moving forward with Project Symphony as part of plan to connect more than 500 solar and household battery-powered homes and businesses on the roof to a power plant Virtual. They also provide for major household appliances like air conditioners and electric hot water systems.

Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) manage the flow of energy from home solar power and individual batteries, aggregating them for storage and use. They help the network to balance supply and demand. This increases the reliability and stability of the network. This may mean that some home and business owners will have additional income, selling electricity back to the grid when demand (and price) is highest. It also prevents the waste of surplus renewable energy.

Earlier this year, solar power supplied 65% of the electricity consumed on the South West Integrated System (SWIS) in Western Australia from the 1.3 GW installed on rooftops alone. Sunny days mean a lot of power.

Australia has the highest penetration of solar rooftop power in the world. Most states are in various stages of integrating small private solar installations into some sort of VPP. There are times in South Australia when this power source can meet the needs of that state’s entire grid.

To speed up the process, Victoria is offering subsidies for the purchase of home batteries, on condition that energy companies are allowed to access stored energy during energy peaks. This would seriously reduce the demand on the system at peak times and reduce costs for all involved. Much cheaper than installing a large battery or other gas-fired power station.

At some point in the future, VPPs could also include electric vehicle charging and electric vehicle batteries as the grid shifts from centralized generation to distributed energy resources.

Music to our ears indeed!

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