Battery trial to help Bruny power long weekend

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Published June 9th, 2017 by Kirsty Waterford

Bruny Island RepositTasmania’s Bruny Island community are forging ahead in a world-leading battery trial to assist with reliability and in support of future energy security.

Eleven battery systems recently installed in homes across Bruny will be used this coming long weekend to help meet the island’s electricity needs as part of the CONSORT Bruny Island Battery Trial.

“When we used three batteries over Easter, it had a positive impact and helped smooth out the peaks our electricity network typically experiences at that time of year,” said TasNetworks Network Innovation Team Leader Andrew Fraser, CONSORT project member.

“Installs have progressed and we now have 11 batteries to call upon. We’re predicting they will store and make available about 800kWh of energy over the long weekend. This is about the same amount of energy the average-sized household uses in a month.

“Once the installs are completed, up to 35 systems will be in operation. We are expecting them to benefit the Bruny community by substantially reducing our reliance on diesel generation.”

The trial has been strongly embraced by the Bruny community; demonstrating the desire for homeowners to have more choice in the way they use electricity and interact with the network.

The trial is part of a larger research project investigating new ways of allowing battery owners and network providers, like TasNetworks, to work together to improve the reliability of the electricity grid and to enable higher penetration of renewables.

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) and The University of Sydney (USYD) are developing distributed algorithms that automatically coordinate battery systems to support the grid, in exchange for payment to battery owners. The installed systems are equipped with technology operated by Reposit Power, which controls the batteries in the best interests of the battery owners. Social scientists from University of Tasmania will investigate the response of battery owners to this approach.

“In essence, we are trialing the electricity grid of the future,” said ANU Professor Sylvie Thiebaux, CONSORT project leader from the ANU Research School of Computer Science.

The latest deployment of the batteries comes on the eve of the release of Dr Alan Finkel’s Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market.

It is anticipated the Finkel Review, which will be released tomorrow at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Hobart, may point to the widespread adoption of battery storage as a means to enable future energy security and will likely recommend market mechanisms or other incentives designed to facilitate their uptake.

CONSORT project partners – ANU, USYD, Univeristy of Tasmania, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Reposit Power and TasNetworks – are today hosting an official launch event for the trial, and to thank the community for its support. TasNetworks CEO Lance Balcombe, Dr Evan Franklin from the ANU Research School of Engineering and an ARENA representative are speaking at the event.

The Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is providing $2.9m towards the $8m CONSORT project under its Research and Development Programme.

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