Technology set to converge to create smarter energy solutions


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16 Dec 2021

Project converge

Evoenergy is pleased to announce a new project that will improve the way we manage electricity network peaks, reduce electricity prices and unlock additional network capacity to allow Canberrans greater potential exports of solar and battery energy to the grid.

With support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the ACT Government, Evoenergy will lead this project in collaboration with the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at the Australian National University (ANU) and Zepben to implement ‘shaped operating envelopes’ in our electricity network.

Shaped operating envelopes is a new technology that allows Evoenergy to manage the electricity network in a way that takes into account two-way energy flows, network constraints in the area and the unique import and export capability for each solar and battery connection.

Evoenergy Strategy and Operations Manager Leylann Hinch says this new operating tool will lead to a smarter and more effective electricity network.

“The way we're using the electricity network and the energy market has changed significantly in the past 10 years and the ongoing increase in solar and batteries has created a significant shift in the way Canberrans generate and use electricity,” said Leylann.

“Increasing the amount of solar and batteries in our network has so many fantastic benefits for energy users and our environment, but at the moment, there are technical constraints holding energy users back from using these technologies the way they want to.”

“When we introduce innovative ways of operating the network within its current capacity such as shaped operating envelopes, we can defer investment in more poles and wires whilst also enabling more solar and battery connections to the network.”

“Any investment we make to increase the capacity of the network is passed onto customers through electricity bills, so initiatives like Project Converge are essential to limit our investment and keep electricity prices down, which we know is what Canberran’s want and need.”

“Over $8.4 million has been contributed by ARENA, ANU and the partner organisations to fund this project, and without that support, introducing innovative ways to operate the network wouldn’t be possible.”

ACT Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury strongly encourages Canberrans who own rooftop solar, battery systems, and even electric vehicles to participate in the project.

“Canberra has seen strong uptake of rooftop solar and battery storage systems in recent years. Because of this, Canberra is an ideal testing ground to trial these new technologies, which will benefit not only the households who own these systems, but also our broader community,” said Minister Rattenbury.

“Government, business, and industry groups need to work together as we transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy. Project Converge is a fantastic example of what can be achieved as a result of this collaboration, and I am looking forward to watching this technology rolled out across Canberra suburbs in the years to come.”

Andrew Fraser, Leader of Engagement, Standards and Regulation at the ANU Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program says Project Converge is taking a customer-centric approach at the forefront of the evolution of the energy system.

“We are delighted to work with our industry partners to demonstrate the real-world application of our newest smart software,” said Andrew.

“This project is more than a software demonstration. Through our social research component of the project, we aim to better understand the perspectives of electricity customers and market participants. In effect, sounding out the real-world viability of the technology to ensure uptake. It is a ‘measure twice, cut once’ approach.”

Over the next two and half years, Evoenergy will work with Converge project partners to test shaped operating envelopes in suburbs which already have a high volume of solar and batteries, and collaborate with solar and battery owners to optimise their system.

“The ACT has demonstrated strong ongoing support of renewable energy with over 30,000 solar systems and 1,400 batteries now installed locally, and those numbers will continue to rise,” said Leylann.

“Through this project, we will work with customers to establish a dynamic import and export envelope to maximise the capability of each system and network connection, which will benefit both the network and the customer.”

“This trial is a great opportunity for Evoenergy to work with customers to design smarter energy solutions without making costly infrastructure investment.”

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Project Converge is led by Evoenergy with the support of consortium members ANU Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program, Zepben, ACT Government and ARENA. Evoenergy will work with owners of eligible solar and battery systems to establish a shaped operating envelope that will optimise the import and export time and capacity unique to their network connection. Project participants will be eligible for a $200 registration payment.

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