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Could VPP's fix Australia's Energy Crisis?🔋

Posted 20 Nov '23

How Could VPP's Accelerate Australia's Rooftop Solar lead?

Australia is geographically in the renewables “Goldilocks” zone and because with our abundant sun particularly and generous wind, we have the ability to be the world's renewable energy superpower.
However, at the moment we are in the position of owning a racehorse but not sure how to keep the beast in check.

What are VPP's?

VPP's or Virtual Power Plants are simply an orchestra of thousands of residential and commercial properties all individually producing and storing energy, balancing production with consumption, and grid imbalances; essentially stabilising the electrical network. We wrote a more in-depth article about VPP's here.

Incidentally the conception and implementation of VPPs was an Australian innovation. As a country we punch well above our weight in the world of high technology innovation, not just sport.

Virtual Power Plants would boost Australia's Solar production performance for available consumption 24/7, which would buffer the timing of solar production and grid outages.

Learn more about VPPs Learn more about VPPs
Solar panel installation building roof
Solar panels roof sunrise power energy newcastle

Solar is Only Half the Solution?

What we're referring to is Australian rooftop solar and how the collective exports are driving the electrical grid into instability at noon during off peak hours, and unable to deliver sufficient at dinner time during on peak hours.

What is needed is energy storage of this surplus to be returned to the electrical grid at dinner time. Where is the best place to store this collectively very large amount of energy? Where it's generated during the day and mostly consumed in the evenings; the homes where it was generated by solar and utilised in domestic loads.

What Do We Need To Do?

What needs to be done is to encourage Australian households to invest in solar battery storage to the same degree as they invested years ago and today in solar panels.

The mechanism which led to that investment, subsidy of solar PV panels, must be revisited with a subsidy for battery storage which like PV modules at their inception, is pricey.
The person or persons behind that solar panel subsidy scheme are in our minds, heroes of the modern renewable’s world for their foresight and ambition for a scheme which let's be honest, hasn't broken the bank but instead has brought Australia to where it is today as the leading rooftop solar nation in the world.

Tesla Powerwall 2 installation battery storage
Home solar installation panels system

Sounds Logical Right?

House rooftop energy falls into the category of a Distributed Energy Resource (DER) and efficiency logic dictates that this energy is best used close to the point where it is generated. Storage follows the same logic; storing it close to where it is generated and used - the ultimate efficiency.

This would accelerate the benefits of solar panel production for 24/7 absorption through the day to allow for the usage of solar energy through the night when production has stopped.
This would minimise the issue of high peak demand periods on a large-scale, encouraging homes to be more self-sustainable in the way they both produce and store energy.

However, the application of battery storage must be elegant and be not just masses of uncoordinated batteries 'doing their own thing.'
Using the technology we currently have, the universal online connections could orchestrate a grid wide synchronised system to achieve in reference to Goldilocks, 'not too much not too little but just the right amount of sponging up of energy from a 'hot' grid and spoon feeding an energy needy grid'.
Computers do this marvelously, reliably, cheaply, and tirelessly. The techniques for doing this are the remit of tested, tried, and emerging Virtual Power Plant (VPP) technologies.

Battery storage residential VPP
Electric vehicle VPP V2g charging

Electric Vehicles & Virtual Power Plants

With electric vehicles exploding in popularity in the past couple of years, it has put increased demand on the electrical grid in order to recharge these large portable batteries. This increased charging demand indicates that we need to either ramp up grid production or find renewable solutions.
Currently, there are solar charging capable electric vehicle chargers that allow EV's to be powered by fully-renewable solar energy. This charging system could greatly benefit from battery storage and would permit eco-friendly charging at all times of the day and night with the absorption of solar energy.
Virtual Power Plants via Vehicle-to-home and Vehicle-to-grid may also evolve to take advantage of their large-capacity batteries.

With the emerging renewable technologies, it removes the need for expensive grid upgrades whilst also creating a more efficient energy system that would stabilise the grid intelligently, and may even be powered by AI in the future. Whilst electricity grids are very valuable, their nature and function is continuously changing, and it must adapt to suit the needs of the evolving consumption trends, infrastructure, and modern times.

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