Redback in NZ virtual power plant trial


By ECD (Electrical+Comms+Data) Staff
Wednesday, 05 July, 2017


Redback Technologies has been selected by Contact Energy, one of New Zealand’s leading energy generators and retailers, to participate in a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) trial in Wellington.

Redback’s Smart Hybrid System will be used as part of a two-year solar and battery technology trial designed to provide support in the event of a natural disaster. The technology will allow residents to access energy from solar power generation and battery storage when the electricity grid is under pressure during peak times or is compromised due to outages.

The system captures, stores and manages solar power encouraging self-optimisation of household energy. Its smart technology uses machine learning to gather intelligence over time to ensure energy usage is optimised and provides an accelerated return on investment. The trial includes 25 homes in the Wellington area.

James Kilty, Contact Energy’s Chief Generation and Development Officer, said they chose the Australian start-up for the trial due to the innovative and highly flexible nature of the technology which enables customers to choose a range of battery sizes and provides external cloud control of the technology.

Kilty said the smart network of customer-located batteries would enhance the resilience of communities in the event of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, which Wellington has experienced in recent years. Customer feedback had been positive thus far, with a willingness to support the wider community through a neighbourhood charging hub, should the need arise, he said.

The project, which has been developed in partnership with Wellington Electricity and Wellington City Council, is the next step in Redback Technologies’ international expansion, having signed a deal with Duserve Facilities Management earlier this year to expand into Dubai and the wider Middle East and North America region.

Redback Technologies Director of Oceania Sales Tim Latimer said the project represents a huge opportunity to trial Redback’s technology in a VPP use case.

“By building the energy infrastructure for the future, Redback is placing the power back into the hands of the consumers and giving them control over how their energy is used,” said Latimer.

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