The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released a report on its Virtual Power Plant (VPP) Demonstration.

VPPs coordinate distributed energy resources (DER) like rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems, battery storage and controllable load devices, such as air-conditioners or pool pumps, through the market.

In July 2019, AEMO’s VPP program was established to understand and share insights on the operational capability of VPPs.

“Our report highlights how our first VPP participant, the SA VPP, performed during several events in the National Electricity Market (NEM),” says AEMO’s Executive General Manager, Emerging Markets and Services, Violette Mouchaileh.

“This included immediately charging and discharging batteries in response to frequency deviations following a contingency event to maintain stable NEM frequency levels, and responding to energy market signals by batteries pre-charging in anticipation of elevated prices and discharging during the elevated price event.

“As a result of accessing aggregated and controllable DER through VPPs, the power system is supported by the provision of additional power when needed,” she said.

AEMO says it will continue to monitor and analyse participants’ responses to events on the power system.

In Australia by 2040, AEMO forecasts that 63 per cent of coal-fired generation will retire, the equivalent annual electricity needs of all Australian homes and a proportion of businesses.

Meanwhile, DER generation capacity is expected to double or even triple, with rooftop solar to provide 22 per cent of total energy, between 32 gigawatts (GW) and 50 GW.

Further, AEMO estimates that embedded battery storage capacity, including VPPs, will total between 17 GW and 30 GW.

“What this shows is that Australia is a world leader in DERs, paving the way for VPPs to significantly contribute to Australia’s future energy system,” AEMO said.

The report is available in PDF form, here.