Ground-breaking renewable energy trial encouraging participation
Householders in Alice Springs who have rooftop solar PV or a solar battery, or intend to install these technologies in the next few months, are invited to participate in a ground-breaking technology trial.
The Alice Springs Future Grid project is creating the Northern Territory’s first residential Virtual Power Plant (VPP). The VPP trial, named Solar Connect, is the most prominent public-facing activity of the Future Grid project, intended to run for up to a year.
A VPP is typically a collection of solar and battery storage systems that work together to provide a single source of energy. VPPs use smart technology to control the energy flow to and from the grid on demand. They are already in use across Australia and the world, with notable examples in South Australia (Tesla) and Western Australia (Horizon Power).
Alice Springs residents can now express their interest in taking part, with financial incentives (limited offer) available for those who fill in the online form and are successfully recruited to Solar Connect.
Solar Connect is one of a series of innovative trials, models and investigations which will inform design of a pathway towards our town reaching the Northern Territory’s renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030, and beyond. Local enthusiasm for rooftop solar is driving the urgency to identify and overcome barriers to integrating increasing amounts of renewable energy.
Future Grid Project Director Lyndon Frearson, from Alice Springs engineering firm Ekistica explained:
“The Alice Springs electricity system is an isolated grid, which exacerbates the challenges of balancing renewable energy with traditional forms of power generation,” Mr Frearson said.
“The Northern Territory also has multiple stakeholders involved in the generation and supply of power, so a significant collaborative effort across Future Grid Project Partners was required to design and deliver the VPP,” he said.
“The Solar Connect VPP trial is a tangible opportunity for the community to play a role in our town’s clean energy transition.”
The Northern Territory Minister for Renewables and Energy, Eva Lawler, praised the trial and urged Territorians to get involved.
“The Territory Labor Government wants all Territorians to have access to the latest and best technology, as we build a stronger and more resilient power system for households and businesses,” Minister Lawler said.
“It’s fantastic to see innovation at work, removing barriers to further renewable energy uptake in the Alice Springs power system as we continue working towards our target of 50% renewables by 2030.
“I encourage Alice Springs residents to take part in this trial and help guide our path to a greener future in the Territory.”
Project delivery is coordinated by the Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy, on behalf of Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA). Project Partners involved in Solar Connect include Jacana Energy, the Arid Lands Environment Centre, Power and Water Corporation and Ekistica. The Future Grid project is supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Australian Government and the Northern Territory Government.
Alice Springs residents can view trial offers and incentives and a full list of eligibility criteria online at www.alicespringsfuturegrid.com.au/vpp or by calling 1800 ALICE VPP (1800 254 238).