Simply Energy, South Australian Power Networks (SAPN) and deX powering a 8 MW virtual power plant for South Australia.

Turning adversity into customer opportunity.

The South Australian energy landscape characterised by peak high and low energy events alongside the recent closure of baseload power stations and system security issues. This has presented challenges to energy providers in the region.

In 2016, due to complex circumstances, the state of South Australia lost power. This event was something the Australian energy market had prepared for but fortunately was yet to experience. This event jolted the South Australia energy industry into action – with Simply Energy leading the pack.

Simply Energy saw this as a unique opportunity to diversify its energy services and offerings to end customers. Simply Energy partnered with GreenSync to establish a framework for a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) with deX and SAPN.

Homes and buildings illustration

Simply Energy’s virtual power plant project is initiated.

The $23 million project will deliver Tesla Powerwall home batteries to up to 1200 Adelaide households representing 6 MW of residential energy storage. A further 2 MW of demand response capacity will be deployed across 10 commercial businesses.

The project is collaboration between Simply Energy – one of Australia’s fastest growing energy companies who provides electricity to more than 600,000 customers, SAPN – South Australia’s sole electricity distributor delivering power to around 850,000 customers and GreenSync (deX) to establish a 8MW virtual power plant.

This program received funding from ARENA as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewable Programme. This funding has been combined with investment by Simply Energy, SAPN, GreenSync and other participants in the project.

A win for customers.
A win for energy.
A win for the environment.

In May 2018 Simply Energy went to market with its S.M.A.R.T Storage offer. This initiative includes subsidised energy storage system and an electricity offer in the package.

Customers of Simply Energy’s S.M.A.R.T Storage initiative will benefit from reduced power costs. Participants are able to increase the amount of rooftop solar power they consume by storing the solar-generated energy and using it later when they would otherwise be consuming power from the grid. The battery systems are also able to provide backup power in the event of an outage.

The result?
Greater security, affordability and sustainable energy for all.

Building capacity with GreenSync VPP.

By using GreenSync VPP and deX, Simply Energy will be able to aggregate and manage the 1,200 batteries that form part of the largest storage virtual power plant in the Southern Hemisphere.

On completion Simply Energy will be able to run spot market demand response programs with larger customers, participating in network support programs and assembling a 8 MW portfolio of DER.

Through this initiative Simply Energy has cemented new ways to engage with customers and manage their wholesale market position, while creating new revenue streams.

As the program progresses, Simply Energy continues to test different ways of engaging with potential customers across the region. The initiative brings with it great learning opportunities including understanding the complexities involved in commodity and hardware offerings, particularly in areas such as offer design, marketing, sales and installation process as well as customers’ response to the offer, sales experience and marketing approach.

deX provides the integration and visibility of DERs across the network.

In parallel, Simply Energy has been working with GreenSync and the project team to further develop the deX platform to manage the virtual power plant. Which in turn will provide advanced connectivity, visibility and market functions to the wider network market.

The deX platform aims to provide an energy marketplace where energy capacity can be transacted between businesses, households, communities and utilities in response to price signals from the local network operator. deX enabels DER to be operated in a coordinated manner to support the local network, and on scale.

The Simply Energy virtual power plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2019.

 

“deX provides a critical layer of digital infrastructure to support customers in unlocking value from DER, ensure grid stability and open up efficient and transparent energy markets.”

Phil Blythe, GreenSync CEO.