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Enabling Solar & Battery Future

 

 

Grid Energy Storage System

This project is an innovative non-network solution that can reduce the network peak demand and improve both power quality and reliability. The final trial involved a hybrid solution of both a 1MW/1MWh battery and a 1MVA diesel generator due to the lower cost of diesel generation compared to increasing the battery storage capacity. 

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    In 2013, AusNet Services initiated a two year trial to investigate the benefits of large-scale battery storage on its distribution network.



     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Why was the trial important?

    This project is an innovative non-network solution that can reduce the network peak demand and improve both power quality and reliability. The final trial involved a hybrid solution of both a 1MW/1MWh battery and a 1MVA diesel generator due to the lower cost of diesel generation compared to increasing the battery storage capacity. 
    The GESS was designed to provide multiple value streams in order to test the full economic effectiveness of battery storage technology.

     

    What did the trial investigate?

    AusNet Services initiated a trial to explore the potential benefits of large scale battery storage on the 22kV distribution network level. The following functions were investigated and achieved: 

    • Peak demand support: Achieved network support by discharging the battery during peak demand and charging it from the grid during low demand.
    • Power quality support: Achieved by utilising the inverter's STATCOM capability to sink and source reactive power to maintain voltage balance, reduce voltage sags and line losses on the network.
    • Islanding of downstream customers to increase security of supply: When in Island, the GESS controlled the voltage and frequency to meet the requirements of the customer load.

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Residential Storage Trial

Home energy storage based on battery systems has recently emerged as a technology of interest to both electricity customers and electricity distribution networks. Although the market for grid-connected residential battery storage can still be considered to be at an early-adopter stage, it is maturing rapidly. Storage systems are becoming more readily available through suppliers such as solar installers and electricity retailers, and prices have been declining.

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    RESS unit with solar inverter in foreground

    Inside view of the RESS. Inverter and controls in upper compartment. Batteries in lower compartment.

    Why was the trial important?

    Recognising the potential opportunities of home energy storage, AusNet Services initiated a Residential Battery Storage Trial in 2011, with regulatory funding from the Demand Management Innovation Allowance (DMIA). The trial was initiated in response to the increasing market maturity and affordability of residential-scale battery storage, an observed growing level of interest among consumers, particularly when combined with solar PV, and growing consensus around the range of potential technical benefits for distribution network management.

    What did the trial investigate?

    The trial was one of the first of its kind in Australia and aimed primarily to investigate the potential of residential battery storage. Key technical performances achieved included:

    • Coincident peak demand reduction: The RESS were able to reduce customer peak demand by 1.1 kW when operating the customer-focussed Tariff Optimisation algorithm. If controlled under a network centric algorithm, peak demand reduction could be increased to 1.9 kW, although this resulted in several customers exporting power from the RESS to the network. The PV systems alone were found to reduce coincident peak demand by around 0.5 kW for the 3 kW systems, or 15% of rated output.
    • Solar export reduction: The RESS were also able to significantly reduce the solar exports that can create voltage-rise issues in the LV network. The 3 kW PV systems exported an average of 6.3 kWh per day across the summer period. Under Tariff Optimisation, exports were reduced by between 56% and 74%, suggesting that storage can facilitate an increased PV penetration of two to three times for a given voltage limit constraint.
    • Utilisation: The trial successfully achieved a relatively high utilisation of available battery capacity of 82% under the Tariff Optimisation algorithm.

    For more information, please click here

 

 

Networks Renewed - Yackandandah

The aim of the trial was to provide a technically sound, economically rational and customer centric solution. The project brought together the key players needed to create change allowing them to: build social networks, create a shared understanding of visions and expectations and develop learning processes.

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    Why was the trial important?

    Due to the increasing uptake of rooftop solar, the distribution network has seen an increased likelihood of voltage violations outside of the Electricity Distribution Code (EDC) and the deterioration of power quality. The traditional network solution to address the voltage violations have been to re-conductor or upgrade transformers but these are very costly options. The other option is to initiate an innovative trial to test behind the meter methods for voltage regulation. 
     
    Networks Renewed is the first Australian trial to demonstrate that customer-owned solar PV and battery storage systems can provide network support in the form of voltage regulation and power quality improvement capabilities. The trial proved that voltage can be suppressed during high penetration of solar in to the distribution network by controlling the reactive power capabilities of residential smart inverters. In respect to the voltage regulation abilities, this solution has also increased the solar hosting capacity on the grid.

    What did the trial investigate?

    The aim of the trial was to provide a technically sound, economically rational and customer centric solution. The project brought together the key players needed to create change allowing them to: build social networks, create a shared understanding of visions and expectations and develop learning processes.
    Outcomes:

    • Managed network voltage constraints via effective control of smart inverters: Managed voltage issues on the LV network by leveraging reactive power from customer's solar inverters.
    • Integration of DER control with network operations: Four inverter types were successfully controlled via two (third-party) aggregator platforms. These platforms were fully integrated with all both DNSP partner operations.
    • Network value of DER-sourced voltage support: The project allowed for a high-level economic comparison of the DER solution with traditional network-side solutions.
    • Obtaining good results for participating customers: Trial participants were generally happy with their involvement in the project and expressed an interest in more deeply engaging with their energy production and use in the future.

    For more information, please click here

     

    Trial equipment at the home clockwise from the top left: SP Pro battery inverter, Fronius solar inverter, Ubi home controller and LG Battery pack. 

     

     

    CEC Innovation Award

 

 

 Mooroolbark Community Mini Grid Project

Australia is in the midst of an energy revolution. The growth in solar power, energy storage and smart control technology has the potential to change the way our society produces, uses and sells energy. To help us prepare for this future, AusNet Services is trialling Australia’s first mini grid in an established community.

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Creating Solar Friendly Neighbourhoods

AusNet Services is trialling innovative technology to dynamically manage the network impact of Australia’s rapidly growing home solar take-up. The Creating Solar Friendly Neighbourhoods trial is a partnership with fellow Victorian electricity distributor Jemena and the University of New South Wales and supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). If successful, the trial could significantly enhance the ability of electricity networks to respond to customer demand for more home-grown solar power.

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    When is the trial happening?

    This trial will run from December 2019 to October 2020, and the results will be publicly available at the conclusion of the trial.

    Why is the trial being conducted?

    The existing infrastructure of the electricity grid is experiencing increasing pressure as more customers install rooftop solar. AusNet Services is trialling innovative technology to ensure we can maintain our quality and reliability of supply while also responding to customer demand for more homegrown solar power.

    What new technologies will be trialled?

    The trial is an Australian first and will install intelligent phase balancing technology on a selected area in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Montrose.  These technologies are used overseas to automatically adjust grid voltages to increase efficiency and smooth out power flows. They consist of:


    • Dynamic Phase Switching 
      Special high speed switches will be installed on a selected number of service poles allowing customer loads to be dynamically shifted between phases. This will enable a better balance of solar and load on each phase, and keep voltage more stable.
    • Dynamic Power Compensator 
      This new device will be installed at the substation and will dynamically balance loads and voltages between the individual phases of the transformer. This should also help to enhance the longevity of the transformer.

    Where will the trial be located?

    Montrose was selected as the location for the trial as it is an established, central location with above average penetration of rooftop solar – 23% compared with an average of 18% across the AusNet Services network.

    What are the benefits?

    If the trial is successful, these technologies could be used to benefit all of AusNet Services’ customers by

    • Improving the quality of supply – this means the voltages are more stable and balanced, and the grid is used more efficiently.
    • More customers will be able to connect rooftop solar to the grid in the future.
    • Allowing solar customers to feed more excess power into the grid to supply their local community.

    How do I find out more?

    To find out more about the project, email solarfriendlyneighbourhoods@ausnetservices.com.au