The South Australian Government is providing support for Tesla to develop a community of 50,000+ homes with solar and Powerwall battery systems across the state. By sharing energy generated by the sun between homes, this reduces the cost of energy for everyone in the network.
The Virtual Power Plant (VPP) connects a network of solar-powered homes — providing backup power day and night, even during a grid outage. This allows for higher energy security and grid reliability for the entire community.
The Tesla VPP is a modern example of a cloud-native architecture that leverages edge computing. Built to the demands of the ever-changing energy market, the system shows how a reactive architecture with edge telemetry and command/control of edge devices enables a platform to handle the dramatic fluctuation found in the peaks and valleys of the energy market.
In Phase I, 100 home energy systems were delivered and installed on SA Housing properties. Tesla and the SA government upped the ante in Phase II, where they planned to install 1,000 energy systems for a total of 1,100 homes.
If Phase I and Phase II are successful, the South Australian Government will move forward and expand the VPP to 49,000 more homes. Phase I and Phase II’s success depend on the satisfaction of both Tesla and the SA government. Phase III is also subject to program financing.
If Phase III does push through, the SA Virtual Power Plant will deliver 250 MW of solar energy to residential homes and store 650 MWh of backup energy in Tesla Powerwalls, which could then be supplied to the grid when needed.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released a knowledge sharing report on its VPP Demonstration program showing that consumer devices, when aggregated and coordinated, can contribute to a secure electricity system and reward participating households.
Over the past year, there were notable power system and market events that required large amounts of contingency Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) or energy only responses. Some of them were analyzed in this report.
In all situations, excellent results and experience were obtained, as well as necessary adjustments were made for further successful work. The Tesla VPP in South Australia already meets the needs of the power grid, although it only accounts for 2% of the planned capacity.
Lynne Gallagher, CEO (interim) Energy Consumers Australia, said, “The VPP Trial is important because it will not only help us answer technical questions about this exciting new technology, but how to make it work for people and how they use energy in their homes and businesses. Energy is deeply embedded in the way we live our lives, and bringing consumers into the innovation process is a critical part of developing successful new energy services,” she said.
To further understand the experience of residents participating in VPPs, AEMO, in partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is undertaking a customer insights survey to existing VPP Demonstration customers.
Moving forward, the VPP Demonstrations will continue to gain learnings regarding the effectiveness of VPPs adding value to the power system. AEMO will continue to monitor and analyse participants’ responses to events on the power system. The addition of other participants will enrich the current data set and allow for more analysis to be carried out and a deeper understanding to be gained.
The Tesla VPP, shows that people can be independent of fossil energy sources, and instead use the energy of the sun. At the moment, this project is showing excellent results; even though VPP is in its infancy, it already demonstrates how it can provide the network support that traditional large conventional generators perform.
Registration for the Virtual Power Plant is ongoing. Click this link for more information and registration.
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