Supermarket, warehouse and airport recruited for grid stabilisation project


Wednesday, 29 November, 2023

Supermarket, warehouse and airport recruited for grid stabilisation project

AGL has received $864,000 in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to develop and trial a price intensity forecasting tool that will support demand flexibility in the commercial and industrial sectors.

ARENA’s report, The Role of Flexible Demand in Australia’s Energy Future, identified potential sources of demand flexibility that included new retail and commercial products such as energy-as-a-service, dynamic tariffs and demand-based market hedges, as well as electrification and control of commercial and industrial loads such as heat pumps, electric furnaces and thermal storage for cold stores and commercial property. AGL’s two-year project will put these sources of demand flexibility to the test.

The $1.78 million project will initially recruit four Melbourne-based customer sites and utilise their price intensity forecasts to manage energy loads, freeing up around 25 MW of combined flexible load which can be used to ease pressure on the energy grid.

Melbourne Airport, a warehouse and logistics company, a tier 1 supermarket chain and a water utility company are the sites selected for the project, representing key addressable industries of cold stores, supermarkets, water treatment and airport market segments. Together, these sites offer up a potential of 385 MW in load management across the National Electricity Market (NEM).

“Unlocking flexible demand at commercial and industrial sites can free up electricity capacity at times of high demand and consume electricity when renewable electricity is abundant. This will help us create a truly smart, adaptable and efficient energy grid,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller.

“Through AGL’s trial, the development of the price intensity forecasting tool will help to reduce barriers for industry to take up renewable energy, shifting usage to times which can lower power bills and reduce strain on the grid. We look forward to seeing the end results of the project which will assist other sectors in their own energy transition.”

AGL’s tool will work by developing a pre-dispatch forecast of solar and wind generation, and thermal generator availability to produce 30-minute interval price forecasts for the next seven days. The customer sites’ process management system will plan the operation of their energy usage based on the forecast by moving load in or out of the 30-minute blocks.

“Flexible demand projects like this enable AGL to develop our technological expertise in harnessing renewable energy while also exploring novel ways to reduce customer costs,” said AGL Chief Customer Officer Jo Egan. “We look forward to sharing the knowledge of the trial with ARENA and our participating partners to optimise the transition to renewable energy.”

The project will begin with development of the software and hardware in early 2024, with findings to be shared mid-2025.

Image credit: iStock.com/Tempura

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