RNE has a look at progress for AGL's South Australian "virtual power plant" experiment - creating a cluster of buildings with solar panels, energy storage and software controlling when power is drawn from the storage systems - World’s largest virtual power plant trial a big hit with SA consumers.
AGL first announced plans to develop the ambitious VPP project in August – a centrally controlled network of 1,000 residential and business battery storage systems with a combined total of 7MWh capacity that would both store rooftop solar power and help manage grid stability in the state.
The hardware for the VPP – the 1,000 battery systems – and the energy management software are being supplied by US-based energy management company, Sunverge, which got the job through competitive tender.
AGL has said the finished product, which will have an output equivalent to a 5MW solar peaking plant, will work by using a cloud-connected intelligent control system that will allow the batteries to be directed in unison: a strategy aimed at helping both consumers to maximise solar self-consumption, and the broader community to manage state-wide peaks in electricity demand.
AGL chief Andy Vesey has said on various occasions that he believes such centrally controlled networks of rooftop solar and battery storage will be a key ingredient of energy systems of the future – systems that will be centred around the consumer.