Electrical, Manufacturing News, Renewable Energy, Victoria

Flexible energy services to roll out in Victoria

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing Victorian energy network United Energy $3.54 million for the flexible services trial project to manage demand.

United Energy will be trialling new ways to integrate more renewables and manage Victorian system security challenges associated with minimum system load now and into the future. 

The $8 million project will centre on two trials to manage the challenges associated with two-way electricity flowing from renewable energy sources like rooftop solar systems.

The project will then identify the capabilities of the Low Voltage Distributed Energy Resource Management System needed to facilitate a flexible connection experience for customers. 

Flexible demand is the shifting of electrical usage to ease pressure on the grid. 

As variable renewable sources like wind and solar produce a greater share of Australia’s electricity generation, flexible demand solutions are required to help match up supply and demand. 

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project displays a range of solutions for managing demand. 

“As we move to an electricity system with a high share of variable renewable energy, it is vital that we scale up flexible demand technologies that are responsive to changes in generation. 

“Distribution networks play a critical role in keeping the electricity system operating reliably and are increasingly needed to trial new solutions to manage a changing electricity supply. ARENA is pleased to be working with United Energy to trial new solutions out in the field – across suburban Melbourne,” said Miller. 

The project will consist of a hot water load control trial where hot water will be managed via a smart meter to align with periods of low demand and high solar production. 

The project will recruit customers on existing controlled load tariffs with a minimum of 10,000 customers recruited and the potential to scale up to 146,000 customers or 120 MW in flexible capacity. 

United Energy will also conduct a flexible export trial providing 100 residential and 5 commercial and industrial customers the ability to export solar electricity from their rooftops above current static limits using Dynamic Operating Envelopes. 

For example, customers will be able to export more electricity during times of high demand, while exports will be reduced during periods when demand is low.  

United Energy owns and operates the electricity poles and wires in Melbourne’s south and east and supplies power to more than 715,000 customers. 

The trials will be conducted on this network as well as sister Distribution Network Service Providers  CitiPower and Powercor.

United Energy’s general manager of Electricity Networks, Glen Thomson, said the project would support the network to integrate more renewable technology. 

“Our network is critical to supporting Victoria’s move towards a clean energy future and this project will involve us operating our network in a different way that will provide significant benefits to our customers and the community going forward.” 

The Flexible services trial is due to be completed in 2026. 

Send this to a friend