Flexibility helping deliver WA’s smart grid
Schneider Electric and Western Power are working on a pilot project to help WA businesses manage their distributed energy resources (DER) and provide support for the electricity grid. Read on to discover how emerging technologies are optimising the electricity network and enabling the integration of DER.
There are more than 275,000 solar panel systems on West Australian rooftops with suburbs such as Southern River, Baldivis and Canning Vale reaching almost a 50 per cent take up. And it’s easy to see why. There’s always plenty of sun in WA.
Western Power’s customers are now not only consuming energy from the grid, but also increasingly supplying energy to the grid. Consequently, changes to the electricity system are needed to manage this new two-way flow of energy to continue to deliver safe, secure and reliable power supplies.
Western Power and Schneider Electric have partnered to create an innovative pilot project to learn how to better manage and integrate distributed energy resources like solar, batteries and manageable loads such as heating and cooling systems, to enable a future grid where more renewables can be connected.
The pilot is part of Western Power’s drive to a clean energy future by using emerging technologies and integrating customer owned energy resources to transform the electricity network.
Delivered through a flexibility services program, the pilot involves WA businesses managing their DER in return for compensation by Western Power.
Schneider Electric has provided the technology for the project which includes a proven platform to manage the flexibility services and incorporates features such as participant portfolio management, user interfaces for program partners and contract management.
The Flexibility Services Pilot aims to demonstrate that these flexibility services will help address network constraints including voltage issues, while enabling grid flexibility and allow more renewable energy into the electricity grid.
The objective of the program is to demonstrate how distribution network utilities can work with and reward their customers to boost the stability and reliably of the grid, while increasing the uptake of renewables.
The program from its concept in January 2020 to implementation took just eight months to deploy.
Western Power selected Schneider Electric to provide the technology platform in April of 2020, with implementation happening simultaneously with Western Power’s customer recruitment efforts; all being completed by September 2020.
The first of two initial control seasons concluded in November 2020. By working closely with partners, Western Power successfully increased load to help stabilise the grid during the few critical hours on weekends and holidays and learned a lot in the process.
Schneider Electric worked with Western Power to implement the new program quickly and efficiently utilising agile principles, including an open, inclusive communication and engagement approach between all parties to ensure partners, their customers, Western Power and Schneider were partnering on the journey.
This included various forms of engagement, co-design sessions, clear communication materials, workshops and site visits, and guiding the partners and their customers through their DER enablement journey. Voice of the customer, open communication, co-design and flexible commercial arrangements are key to long term efficiency and provide value for customers and the proponents.
What were the results?
Western Power and their partners recruited more than 250 customers to participate in the program.
By connecting renewable energy sources such as solar, loads like air-conditioning systems and storage and using smart technology, Schneider has enabled Western Power to begin its journey towards a flexible grid that can seamlessly connect and communicate with solar PV systems, batteries and flexible loads like heating and cooling systems.
For more information on Schneider Electric digital grid solutions, please visit: https://www.se.com/au/en/work/solutions/for-business/electric-utilities/smart-grid/control-center.jsp
For more information on Western Power’s flexibility services pilot, please click here.
Schneider Electric is a major and innovation sponsor of Energy Networks 2021