Here in the ACT we are lucky to have one of the most reliable energy networks, but to strengthen our future reliability Evoenergy is exploring demand management measures to manage peaks on the grid.
Although rare, the electricity supply can be affected by things like extreme weather or when generators unexpectedly go offline. When this happens, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) can direct distributors like us to load shed.
Load shedding means we deliberately shut off small sections of the grid to control the demand so that it doesn’t breach the capacity of the network and potentially cause a huge problem. Simply, load shedding is forced rolling blackouts, usually in two hour intervals across rotating suburbs.
Demand management exercises allow us to work with individual residents, households and businesses to either reduce consumption or generate electricity to feed into the grid. Over the past two years we’ve conducted a range of trials which have proven the concept that when scaled up, the ACT can prevent forced rolling blackouts in almost all circumstances. These include:
• An SMS program: An SMS text message is sent to locals to ask them to reduce their energy consumption
• Large customer contracts: Big businesses given financial incentives to reduce their load, and
• The ACT’s virtual power plant (VPP): Stored energy from the solar battery systems of 400+ households is remotely dispatched back into the grid.
This helps optimise the investment needed to maintain and upgrade the network – so customers pay no more than necessary for a safe and reliable grid.
Yarralumla resident Fraser Argue was an early adopter of solar and battery storage, and was a keen participant in the VPP saying, “I got involved because I’m fascinated in the challenging disruption of the electrical energy”.
“For people like me with solar and batteries, our systems normally only export energy into the grid when the sun is shining and the batteries are full, but being part of a VVP means our systems can be remotely controlled to feed into the grid when it needs support.
“My VPP involvement alone is not significant, but if thousands of Canberrans got involved that would make an important contribution to support the grid when under stress,” said Fraser.
But this opportunity isn’t just for people with solar and batteries, if you have a smart device you can also get involved. By signing up to the Evoenergy portal you can opt-in to receive SMS text messages asking you to reduce electricity use at short notice to help reduce the load on the electricity network.
If you’re interested in joining the sustainable grid movement and learning more, why not sign up for our demand management program at portal.evoenery.com.au (you’ll need your NMI number which is written on your retail electricity bill)
If we can get 10 per cent of our customers, which is around 20,000 people, to join the movement, together we can reduce demand by more than we did in the heatwave in February 2017 when we avoided load-shedding.