The scheme will test the potential of distributed energy resources such as rooftop systems, battery storage and controllable load devices aggregated into VPPs to provide scalable energy and network services traditionally performed by large scale, conventional electricity generators. With registration open, the Australian Energy Market Operator wants VPPs to register to accelerate shared learning.
As the energy sector undergoes momentous change, moving towards a decentralized generation model, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is looking to harness the potential of distributed energy resources. In its latest move, AEMO has opened registrations for participation in its virtual power plant (VPP) demonstration program.
The program will test the potential of small scale systems aggregated into VPPs to deliver frequency control ancillary services and energy and network support services to the grid. The initiative, which will include pilot VPPs across Australia and jointly operate their distributed generation portfolios aims to benefit all energy users by enabling a more efficient and affordable power system.
“Australia’s energy landscape is rapidly transforming – faster than most developed economies – creating power-system operation and design challenges as well as presenting opportunities to create a future, world-class power system,” said AEMO emerging markets and services executive general manager Violette Mouchaileh. “As the independent energy system and market operator, we believe DER [distributed energy resource] growth can empower consumers to contribute scalable value to our future energy system by joining virtual power plants that actively participate in Australia’s electricity markets.”
Under the program, AEMO is establishing a framework to allow VPPs to demonstrate their capability to deliver contingency frequency control ancillary services and assist energy markets. The VPP demonstrations will see such aggregators trial a new specification to deliver contingency frequency control ancillary services and AEMO will observe how VPPs respond to energy market price signals, as non-scheduled resources.
The goal is to make VPPs visible to the market operator and use the data collected to inform changes to regulations and operational processes and to pave the way to smooth integration of VPPs before they reach commercial scale. Over 12 to 18 months the program will also aim to provide insights into how to improve consumer experience of VPPs and to understand which cyber security measures VPPs have and whether such capabilities should be augmented.
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