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$7 million funding initiative for system security

ARENA has launched a $7 million funding initiative which aims to tackle how to deliver grid stability and security services with renewable energy technologies.

These essential services – such as frequency control ancillary services (otherwise known as FCAS) – are needed to keep the frequency and voltage along the grid stable, and have traditionally been provided by fossil fuel generators.

With the share of renewable energy in the energy mix increasing and with synchronous generations such as coal-fired power plants ageing and beginning to retire, ARENA is looking a new ways to deliver these services.

Current techniques for managing system security events include requiring gas plants to curtail how much electricity is produced by solar and wind farms.

The funding initiative, which is now open for expressions of interest until 31 July, is seeking novel projects that can demonstrate how solar parks, wind farms and enabling technologies such as batteries can deliver system strength provision, FCAS, fast frequency response (FFR), inertia provision and measurement and other services that may enhance system security.

Already, ARENA has funded two stand-alone trials to demonstrate if wind turbines can deliver FCAS – a fast injection or reduction of energy to balance frequency fluctuations.

The first trial at Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia over summer has successfully proven that it is technically feasible for wind farms to deliver FCAS.

The second ARENA-funded trial is now underway at Woolnorth’s Musselroe Wind Farm which sits atop Tasmania’s rugged northwest corner in which its 56 turbines provide 5 per cent of Tasmania’s yearly electrical supply. This second trial is exploring whether it is economically feasible for wind farms to provide FCAS.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said demonstrating renewables could stabilise fluctuations in frequency and voltage which could help pave the way for more renewables to join the grid.

“System security has been a key focus of industry regulators, the market operator and participants. It was also the priority of the Finkel Review,” he said.

“As our electricity system transforms from a system of centralised synchronous generators to more diversified generation that includes more and more renewables, we need to find ways to deliver power system stability and security using less fossil fuels,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“If successful, these pilot projects will save consumers money and create new revenue streams for solar, wind and battery operators,” he said.

ARENA’s funding initiative for Power System Services is now open.

Expressions of Interest close on 31 July.

For more information, visit the System Services funding page.

ARENA launches $7 million funding initiative for renewable energy to deliver system security services

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced a $7 million funding initiative focused on trialling how solar parks, wind farms or enabling technologies such as batteries can provide grid stability and security services.

The increase in the share of renewable energy and the retirement of traditional synchronous generators can add to system security challenges. Current techniques for managing system security events include requiring gas plants to curtailing how much electricity is produced by solar and wind farms.

ARENA will be looking for projects that offer new opportunities for renewable and supporting technologies to provide system services traditionally performed by coal and gas-fired power plants.

These projects can include system strength provision, frequency control ancillary services (FCAS), fast frequency response (FFR), inertia provision and measurement and other services that may enhance system security.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said demonstrating renewables could stabilise fluctuations in frequency and voltage which could help pave the way for more renewables to join the grid.

“System security has been a key focus of industry regulators, the market operator and participants. It was also the priority of the Finkel Review,” he said.

“As our electricity system transforms from a system of centralised synchronous generators to more diversified generation that includes more and more renewables, we need to find ways to deliver power system stability and security using less fossil fuels,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“If successful, these pilot projects will save consumers money and create new revenue streams for solar, wind and battery operators,” he said.

Previously, ARENA has funded a successful trial of FCAS at Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia and a trial at Musselroe Wind Farm in Tasmania which is still underway.

Hornsdale is now registered for six of eight FCAS markets and will provide insights into the cost-benefit of using pre-curtailment to provide FCAS services from a new technology source.

“This funding initiative will build upon these projects and invites applications for additional system services to be provided by renewable technologies,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“By reducing the need for thermal generation to keep the system stable, the cost of energy will reduce over time,” he said.

For further information and to apply, visit arena.gov.au/funding

ARENA media contact:

0410 724 227 | media@arena.gov.au

Download this media release (PDF 122KB)

Smart swimming pools to trial energy saving technology and manage peak demand

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced $2.5 million in funding to Pooled Energy for a pilot-scale demonstration of its technology that dramatically reduces energy consumption of household swimming pools and unlocks the potential for demand response.
The $5 million project will see Sydney energy retailer Pooled Energy expand the trial of their technology from 400 to 5,000 residential swimming pools in NSW.

Sydney households who join the 5MW trial will have an intelligent pool control system installed that automates and optimises the energy use as well as chemical use and water quality of their swimming pool.

Swimming pools typically use 40 per cent of the average Australian pool owners’ total energy use. Pooled Energy’s world-first technology reduces a pool’s energy consumption to 10 per cent of the household’s total energy use.

The trial will also demonstrate how a large fleet of swimming pools can be coordinated to collectively deliver demand response using a cloud-based system.

By curbing their consumption during peak times or when power surges, demand response can prevent outages during extreme peaks such as summer heatwaves or can provide grid stability.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the pilot project will demonstrate Pooled Energy’s ability to use pools to manage demand.

“Household swimming pools take up a very large load on the electricity network and can contribute to high energy bills for families,” he said.

“Pooled Energy’s technology will now be able to test turning that load into a significant contribution in providing low cost demand response in significant volume, alongside making significant productivity improvements.” Mr Frischknecht said.

Pooled Energy co-founder and chairman John Riedl said: “We are delighted to work with ARENA to demonstrate how pools can be harnessed to assist the grid with no inconvenience to customers.”

“There are more than 1.4 million swimming pools in Australia, and pools use approximately 10 per cent of the average demand on the residential grid. If all the pool pump and filters were on at once, they would use up to 3.7 GW of energy – the equivalent of two Liddell-sized power stations running at capacity – so there is huge potential to both reduce the amount of energy used and better manage pools for the wider benefit,” Mr Riedl said.

“This technology also reduces a household’s total energy usage by approximately 30 per cent,” he said.

ARENA media contact:

0410 724 227 | media@arena.gov.au

Download this media release (PDF 123KB)

Pooled Energy Demonstration Project