Ausgrid embraces digital disruption as key to grid of the future

15 October 2019

 Ausgrid has welcomed the release of an Australian Energy Market Commission information paper into how digital disruption can help deliver better outcomes for energy customers.

Chief Customer Officer Rob Amphlett Lewis said it is a space Ausgrid has been actively exploring.

“Customers have told us they want more affordable electricity and greater options about the way they make, store and share their energy. We know the grid is critical to achieving these goals. 

In the age of disruption where sharing technology is changing how we operate – we see Ausgrid as being to energy what the internet is to global tech giants like Amazon and Google.

Rob Amphlett Lewis, Chief Customer Officer 

“We are the caretaker of a shared asset that, just like the internet, holds the key to unlocking greater competition in the energy sector”, Rob said.

Ausgrid and distributed energy leader Reposit Power, have just completed a successful trial of a 1megawatt virtual power plant (VPP).

Under the trial Ausgrid sent signals, known as dispatches, to customer batteries via Reposit software, to request the batteries export stored energy back into the grid.

The VPP allowed electricity from customer batteries to be directed back into the grid when needed, with customers receiving cash payments.

The project began in March and involved 237 customers across 170 suburbs in Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter.

“By collaborating with our customers and industry partners we were able to deliver financial savings and unlock previously unexplored options for sharing energy.

“In the long term this technology could provide a lower cost alternative to grid investment, which would result in lower bills for all our customers,” Rob said.

Reposit Power co-founder and CEO, Dean Spaccavento, said VPPs are the next step in Australia’s energy revolution.

“We are delighted this trial has shown the enormous value of our clean, flexible and cost effective VPPs to individual households as well as the wider community.

“This technology is now empowering consumers and communities to make the best choice on how they share their energy,” Dean said.

The value of the technology can be seen on days where demand on the network rises, such as very hot days when energy consumption spikes.

On 12th March temperatures reached 34.6 degrees at Sydney Observatory Hill. That afternoon between 3:15pm and 6:15pm Ausgrid sent a dispatch to 207 customers in the VPP and on average each customer battery fed back 1.8kW into the grid.

During the 4-month trial each customer received an average total payment of $30.