South Australia tackles outages with cloud services

A new “virtual” power plant has been launched in Adelaide with access to cloud services to connect homes and businesses.

Australia’s largest operating “virtual” power plant is going live in Adelaide with the first tranche of solar battery storage installations powering local homes and businesses.

This installation, being managed by AGL Energy, is supported by batteries that ‘talk’ to each other through a cloud-based platform that is part of a fully-connected virtual network. This cloud-based system will enable AGL to operate the system in a virtual environment. This replaces having to source electricity from large power stations outside cities.

Solar energy would be captured and stored from residential rooftops, while the virtual power plant would support the grid in times of instability. This virtual access would enable AGL to discharge electricity to homes in periods of peak demand.

The Australian government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has provided $5 million towards the $20 million project. The project would connect 1,000 residential and business premises.

The maintenance of energy security in South Australia remained crucial against a backdrop of outages. Recent blackouts have reinforced demand for energy security, while transitioning to a lower emissions future.

Prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, earlier requested ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to collaborate on new funding for large-scale storage and other flexible capacity projects.

The Adelaide battery storage project is designed to offer flexible capacity solutions and support large-scale storage projects. This would secure energy supply, integrate renewable energy sources and ensure the stability of the grid.




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