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Frequently Asked Questions

Find out the answers to frequently asked questions for Year 2 of Flexibility Services. 

General 

The Flexibility Services Pilot is a program led by Western Power and supported by partnerships with businesses in WA. It is part of our drive to transform and future-proof the south-west grid for the West Australian community by using emerging technologies and connecting an increasing mix of renewable energy.

The Pilot will be delivered through a flexibility services program, where energy users and generators of solar PV on the distribution network voluntarily change their energy use to support the network in return for payment by Western Power.

The Pilot will run for one year initially, with participants most likely asked to manage their energy flexibility during the months of October and March, when energy consumption is generally lower than what is being produced otherwise called low-load.

Following the initial one-year Pilot, we’ll review the results to determine the next steps.

System-low events, also known as low-load events, occur when the power being generated across the network is more than what is being used.

These events are more likely to occur on mild sunny days when solar generation is high yet heating and cooling may be unnecessary.

If the supply of solar generation is higher than the demand for energy, it creates a system-low, where the power required from large-scale generators drops below their minimum operating limits, which can cause outages. If commercial and industrial businesses can be flexible with their energy during these periods, they can help reduce excess power on the grid. This enables large-scale generators to remain running at normal operating levels, helping ensure the network remains stable.

We’re partnering with businesses who are connected to our distribution network and who can manage their energy flexibility.

These businesses will voluntarily change, or shift, their energy use on low-load days, helping support the stability of the grid, in return for compensation by Western Power.

We’re open to talking to businesses that have smaller energy generation, or a unique way they could manage and create energy flexibility during the required periods of the Flexibility Services Pilot

This Pilot is designed to provide flexibility in the way businesses use energy, it Is not about using energy when no-one is there or for no end use. Each participant will determine the best way to productively manage their energy flexibility in order to suit the needs of their business.

This may include changing the time the business chooses to operate certain tasks, or even shutting off solar panels at certain times on the weekend when the business is not operating or pre-cooling at different times of day compared with the normal modes of operation.

No. The intent is to find new ways to effectively manage the amount of solar PV coming into our grid. That will allow for an overall increase in cost-effective renewable energy into the grid, without the need for costly infrastructure upgrades that impact network charges, keeping overall costs down.

In the long-term we see both residential customers and businesses becoming more involved in our energy market ecosystem, as both users and generators of energy. You can find out more at the through the WA Government’s DER Roadmap.

The energy market is rapidly changing, and we are committed to future-proofing the network. The extensive work we’re doing to ensure this such as our community battery trials and The Flexibility Services Pilot are helping to provide a clear understanding of where the opportunities lie for the grid and our customers.

One in three households in WA have solar PV and we want this to continue. We’re hugely supportive of renewable solar PV and we want to ensure solar PV is supported on the grid. To achieve this, we need to find ways to manage fluctuating power sources coming into the grid to ensure stability.

The Flexibility Services Pilot one of many tools we are testing to help us orchestrate power across the grid. These tools help us support more cost-effective renewable power on the grid while providing customers with more opportunities and flexibility to derive value from their investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

The Flexibility Services Project is a Pilot and the first step of understanding the size and mechanisms for the provision of energy flexibility. As such we don’t currently have a position on what kind of flexibility is desirable from a grid or customer perspective, however, we’re happy to work with you to determine what flexibility would be best for your business.

Western Power has network solutions in place to manage system-low events and as part of our drive to evolve the grid and connect greater renewables, we’re looking at alternative options to meet our customers changing energy needs.

If you are having trouble with Ariba, you can contact our Ariba support team at [email protected]. If your problem remains unresolved, please contact [email protected].

Release 1: Begins at the end of August and represents the smallest product increment from year 1: Same partners, same sites (PV curtailment and load shift) dispatched to simulate a system low event. The product increments for this release are dynamic dispatch, improving conformance to 80% and a target of 20MW of flex delivered.

Release 2: Begins in October and introduces priority increments such as locational dispatch, and the addition of energy storage in the types of DER. The new NMIs should allow to flex an additional 10MW.   

Release 3: Begins after R2 and will be ongoing, with a deadline in March 2022 for the introduction of any product increment. This release will be the opportunity to introduce lower priority increments as well as new integrations and learning for Western Power and Partners and add another 5MW.

If you have any questions or require support, please contact the Flexibility Services team at [email protected] and a member of the team will respond to you within 48 hours (Monday to Friday).

One in three households in WA have solar PV and we want this to continue. We’re hugely supportive of renewable solar PV and we want to ensure solar PV is supported on the grid. To achieve this, we need to find ways to manage fluctuating power sources coming into the grid to ensure stability.

The Flexibility Services Pilot is one of many tools we are testing to help us orchestrate power across the grid. These tools help us support more cost-effective renewable power on the grid while providing customers with more opportunities and flexibility to derive value from their investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

The energy market is rapidly changing, and we are committed to future-proofing the network. In the long-term we see both residential customers and businesses becoming more involved in our energy market ecosystem, as both users and generators of energy. 

The extensive work we’re doing to ensure this such as our community battery trials, and The Flexibility Services Pilot are helping to provide a clear understanding of where the opportunities lie for the grid and our customers. You can find out more in the WA Government’s DER Roadmap.

If you would like to make any public announcement or media release regarding the project, you will require prior written approval from Western Power. Further information on public announcements and media releases can be found in your Flexibility Services Year 2 Agreement.

NMIs 

If a Partner needs to make a change to the lead time, they must provide in writing, to the flex services email, the NMI number, DER name and new lead time request.  This can be completed at any time during Year 2 of Flexibility Services.

Partners might wish to remove a NMI if a site is no longer available, or if the site is underperforming (against target), or a site has a new retailer or new owner (participant). A Partner request to remove a NMI from the project entirely must be communicated in writing to the Flexibility Services Inbox.

  • In circumstances where a partner needs to remove a NMI, it is preferable to include a replacement flex service offering, of a similar type (PV, load shift, Storage), MW capacity, dispatch lead time and control, where possible.

When a Partner requests to change their flexibility, target associated with a NMI, our project team will need Partners to provide the change in the Site Details Checklist form and the Partner will be notified in writing if the change is either accepted or rejected. If accepted, a flex target change will then be updated in the Flexibility Services Platform.

Where changes are planned to be made to an existing NMI’s DER, Western Power requires the Partner to submit this to us in writing as soon as the Partner is aware of this change. The Partner can provide this information through completing the Site Details Checklist Form again.

Once this has been provided to us in writing, it will be at our discretion to accept the new DER set-up or reject the NMI from the program as a result. Once the change has happened, the NMI will not be permitted to participate in event until it has been accepted by us and updated in our systems.

Therefore, we encourage Partners to inform us of planned modifications of the DER behind a NMI as early as possible. We will notify each Partner in writing of the outcome of the new DER submission.

Please note: If you submit an incomplete submission, it may be processed in the following month once all required information is provided.

A Partner can only upgrade the control of its DER. For example, from manual to remote dispatch or from indirect control to direct control (or live monitoring). WP reserves the right to remove a DER from the program if the control is downgraded. For example, from direct control to indirect control.

If a Partner decides to install control equipment of one DER to another one, the donor DER maybe removed from Flex Services. This is at WP’s discretion and if it occurs, the upgraded DER will only be able to run events once the control equipment has been tested and validated.

Bid increases for R1 and R2 NMIs will only be available from mid-January to mid-February 2022. When a Partner requests to change their CBR associated with a NMI, our project team will need Partners to provide the change in the Site Details Checklist form and the Partner will be notified in writing if the change is either accepted or rejected. If accepted, a CBR change will then be updated in the Flexibility Services Platform.

Exception: If the change in your bid is a decrease in the amount, the request can be done anytime by issuing a Price Reduction Notice to Western Power. This will help to ensure the NMI can quickly be ready to participate in the next event and increase its chance of being selected. This change still needs to be reflected in the Flexibility Services Platform.

Events

When supporting a system low situation, flexibility events will be held over weekends and public holidays. However, events will be selected to meet Western Power’s network requirements and dispatched closer to the point of request, meaning dates and times are not known in advance.

When Flex will be used to support the network in managing other challenges than system low, there’s a possibility that events be called outside of these days.

An event may be cancelled if Western Power determines that the event is not required. If an event is cancelled, we will notify each participating Partner 2 or more business days before the event was scheduled to occur.

However, if an event is cancelled less than 2 business days prior, Partners selected for the event will still be paid the availability incentive for that event. Further information on event cancellations can be found in your Flexibility Services Year 2 Agreement.

Control

Direct controlled flexibility refers to a DER that can be remotely dispatched by Western Power when it has been selected to participate in a flexibility event. Further information on direct controlled flexibility can be found in your Flexibility Services Year 2 Agreement.

Live monitored flexibility enables Western Power to receive, in real time, information about a particular DER and its performance, without directly controlling it.

This information includes the output in KWh which can be integrated into our business systems for the purpose of confirming performance during and throughout an event. Further information on live monitored flexibility can be found in your Flexibility Services Year 2 Agreement.

The DER can be remotely dispatched by the Partner when selected to participate in a flexibility event. Further information on indirect control can be found in your Flexibility Services Year 2 Agreement.

The DER cannot be remotely dispatched by the Partner and instead someone on site must physically operate the DER when selected to participate in a flexibility event. Further information on manual control can be found in your Flexibility Services Year 2 Agreement.

Partners appreciated the simplified process to flex and the significantly increased certainty of conformance. Improved conformance results in higher payments, and sites with higher conformance are more likely to be called on for future events due to their reliability.

Direct control also removes the requirement for a baseline which simplifies determination of NMI conformance.  The Direct Control API integration further allows Partners to restrict control capabilities and what information is shared.