Over the past 12 months, we have run a pilot program in Collombatti NSW, trialling how smart solar PV and battery systems can be used to help networks manage the quality of electricity supply on the energy grid.
25 trial systems that have now been installed in Collombatti. These systems make up a virtual power station, which can respond to times of low and high voltages by generating and storing electricity. Our NSW network partner, Essential Energy is able to place bids for network support with the participants in the virtual power station.
For two tests conducted in late September 2018 where Essential Energy placed a bid for support, the virtual power station was able to generate over 50kW of electricity, improving local voltage by 1.73%. Our total target voltage for the trial program is 5.5%, which we will work towards as we extend the virtual power plant into the market scale trial. The chart below shows how the tests played out.
In an area of south east Victoria covered by United Energy’s network, the trials have focused on control algorithms that automatically dispatch generation and storage to improve local voltage.
The primary problem for customers in this area is high voltage, so the systems need to work to bring the volts back down to an appropriate range.
The trialled strategies aim to maximise the potential of solar power in the region, to intelligently sense what the voltage is in the nearby network and to directly respond to current voltage levels with both real and reactive power generation.
The pilot results here show that the range of voltages that the customers experienced was brought back into the allowable range of voltages.
Where to from here?
The next step for the program is to expand the trials to a market scale, where there are more participants in the virtual power plant and a greater ability to assess what the economic value is of this new service that electricity grid operators can use. ISF will be expanding the trial in NSW and adding a new area in the Victorian trial for the next stage.