The project will investigate the technical and commercial feasibility of using pole-mounted batteries connected to the low voltage (LV) network to manage constraints and increase the hosting capacity of renewables.
The primary function of LV batteries is to ensure the maximum demand for a given distribution transformer remains within its limits (known as demand management). Demand management will allow United Energy to defer expenditure on augmenting distribution transformers in regions with growing peak demand.
Installing LV batteries as part of this project is estimated to provide $3 million in savings from avoided investment in distribution augmentations.
In addition, the LV batteries will also be able to mitigate technical constraints (e.g. voltage rise) that limit the hosting capacity of distributed solar power on low voltage networks.
The project involves installing 40 new LV batteries (each at least 30 kW / 66 kWh) at constrained distribution transformers in United Energy’s distribution network. Distribution transformers are typically pole-mounted in United Energy’s network, and the LV batteries have been designed to look similar to the distribution transformers.
The 40 LV batteries, together with 2 previously installed units, will be leased to Simply Energy for use when not required by United Energy. In doing so, the project will also demonstrate value-stacking of network and market benefits and provide insight into the business case for LV batteries.
The 42 LV batteries will be located to help manage peak demand and the hosting capacity of distributed rooftop solar on constrained distribution transformers in United Energy’s low voltage network. The LV batteries will also improve voltage regulation.
Victorian energy distributor United Energy is trying a world-first approach that puts battery storage right on the customer’s doorstep – above suburban streets.