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Innovative energy flexibility services pilot to continue

Following success last year, Western Power’s innovative flexible energy services pilot for commercial and industrial businesses has been extended for a second year.

Launched in 2020, the pilot involves Western Power partnering with energy retailers and WA businesses to build flexible services into commercial and industrial customer solutions as part of its drive to a low carbon future.

Western Power CEO, Ed Kalajzic, says the pilot is just one of a number of innovative measures being implemented to integrate renewables into the network to ensure a long-term, sustainable uptake of new energy technologies.

“Through flexibility services, WA businesses can manage their distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar, batteries and manageable loads like heating and cooling systems, in a way that provides network support, in return for compensation by Western Power,” he said.

“With rooftop solar growing at a rapid rate, balancing supply and demand on the grid for stability is essential and flexibility services is one measure that helps manage the effects of renewable energy on the grid.”

Stage one of the Pilot ran between September 2020 and April 2021 with 250 businesses and sites modifying their energy use and generation between 10am-2pm on specific weekends. The results of the pilot provided significant insight into the type of technologies that may support the efficient delivery of flexibility services for WA businesses and the network long term.

“Working with these WA business partners, Western Power successfully enabled energy flexibility to help manage the grid during lower demand days on sunny and mild weekend days,” Mr Kalajzic said.

“We’re working towards an energy future that’s greener, cost-effective, and provides greater customer choice and flexibility. This program has proven to be a key step towards this.”

Over the course of the pilot, an average 20MW of energy flexibility to support the grid was achieved, a significant amount given it was the first time that partners had participated in such a program.

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) recently announced that Western Power’s Flexibility Services Pilot was shortlisted as a finalist for its 2021 Industry Innovation Awards. ENA is the national industry body representing Australia's electricity transmission and distribution and gas distribution networks, whose members provide more than 16 million electricity and gas connections to almost every home and business across Australia.

The results of stage one also informed the type of technologies that may support the efficient delivery of flexibility services for both the partners and the network.  Stage two of the pilot started in September this year. Find out more about the pilot.