The Ausgrid Power2U project involves the establishment a $4.1 million fund to help selected customers to permanently reduce their electricity use on Ausgrid’s network. By permanently reducing customer demand for grid supplied electricity, Ausgrid can delay, or avoid, network investment and, over time, lower the cost of electricity for all customers.
Ausgrid’s project aimed to incentivise and encourage households and businesses to adopt energy efficiency measures such as installing new solar power systems and LED lighting upgrades to defer a replacement driven capital project. The program targeted customers in the Canterbury-Bankstown and City of Sydney areas. The project achieved sales (totalling 3,233 kW PV systems) and demonstrated it may be cost-effective to offer incentives to encourage additional uptake of customer PV systems, in particular for the business customer segment. The COVID-19 restrictions also created challenges and restricted the level of PV system installations. Ausgrid estimated that about 40-75% (or 1300-2400 kW of the total program installs) are additional to the business as usual activity. However, the results reaffirmed that a blend of non-network and partial network solutions may be required.
How the project works
TheAusgrid Power2U Project by Ausgrid offers incentives to customers to permanently reduce their electricity use on Ausgrid’s network. The incentives will initially be offered in four select areas encompassing 17 suburbs in the Sydney area and will focus on encouraging customers to implement new solar power systems and efficient lighting retrofits. This project seeks to demonstrate that demand management can delay or avoid replacement of aged network assets.
Area of innovation
Network demand management is the practice of reducing or modifying customer demand for electricity to avoid or delay investment in poles and wires, which can, over time, lower the cost of electricity for all customers. Traditionally, demand management has focused on network investments to respond to increasing electricity demand.
Currently, more than 80% of Ausgrid and the majority of Australian network investment is related to replacement of aged assets. The development of a viable cost effective non-network alternative for these types of investments can extend demand management to a much greater volume of network expenditure.
The project offers Ausgrid and other electricity networks a possible cost effective alternative to replacing aged network assets.
The permanent reduction in customer demand for grid supplied electricity also offers Ausgrid greater flexibility in managing unplanned outages, leading to improved reliability for customers.
The project offers participating customers a way to save money, reduce their emissions and ultimately share their energy via the grid. Further, the program offers ARENA and the City of Sydney an alternative pathway to increasing renewable electricity supply on the grid.