- Lead Organisation
Electricity Networks Corporation (Western Power)Location
Perth, Western AustraliaARENA Program
- Start Date
- Project PartnersElectricity Generation and Retail Corporation (Synergy), AEMO, University of Technology Sydney, University of Western Australia, University of Tasmania
Project Symphony is piloting the orchestration of customer-owned distributed energy resources (DER) such as rooftop solar, batteries and major appliances to participate in a future energy market.
One in three households in Western Australia (WA) has rooftop solar, equivalent to almost 2 gigawatts of renewable energy generation. Collectively, this represents the largest source of electricity generation on the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).
Growth in consumer-owned DER will increase further in the years ahead as more solar systems with integrated battery storage come online. However, the widespread uptake of rooftop solar creates challenges and opportunities for the delivery of electricity.
A high proportion of decentralised, unmanaged DER poses a risk to the stability of the WA power network when an excess of local rooftop solar generation greatly exceeds the demand for electricity at certain times of the day. Project Symphony will orchestrate customer DER to not only overcome the technical challenges to the electricity network but also enable DER participation in future energy markets to unlock greater benefits to customers.
Media Release: Composing a Distributed Energy Symphony in Western Australia’s Largest Energy Grid
ARENA announced funding to Western Power for the development of a pre-commercial pilot focused on developing and operating Distributed Energy Resources within the South West Interconnected System in Perth, Western Australia.
A collaboration between Western Power, Synergy and AEMO, Project Symphony is an innovative pilot project designed to ‘orchestrate’ 900 DER assets across 500 homes and businesses in the Southern River areas of Atwell, Harrisdale and Piara Waters into a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). The Southern River area has been chosen for the pilot due to the high uptake of rooftop solar – almost half of all homes in the area have solar systems installed.
The project will aggregate the electricity generated by the DER and dispatch excess supply to the network in the same way as a traditional power plant. It will also help create a more stable and efficient localised electricity system with benefits for the entire network.
The project scope includes the procurement, development, integration and testing of the software based Distribution Market Operator (DMO), Distribution System Operator (DSO) and DER Aggregator ‘platforms’, including the hardware and services required to aggregate and orchestrate customer DER ‘end to end’ to participate in a future energy market.
The project will share lessons and information with industry stakeholders, including a social science study designed to understand customer sentiment towards a variety of DER asset types and product offerings of broader market adoption.
The future integration of DER across the SWIS will allow for the further expansion of renewable energy generation across the network, leading to cleaner and cheaper energy for all electricity customers, not just those with solar and battery systems. It may also reduce the need for investment in traditional base load power supply, such as large-scale coal or gas-fired power plants.
The two-year pilot will deliver valuable insights into how the electricity system can be strengthened to continue to provide reliable, secure and affordable power in a rapidly changing energy environment.
The project will share project lessons and information with industry stakeholders. This plan also includes a social science study designed to understand customer sentiment towards a variety of DER asset types and product offerings of broader market adoption.
The outcomes of Project Symphony will inform the policy, market design and regulatory reform required for DER integration and participation in the Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM).