The South Australian Government and Enel X will invest $2 million to explore access to cheaper, more reliable electricity by utilising backup generators owned by 40 South Australian businesses as part of the government’s $4 million Backup Boost Program.
The program is designed to deliver more affordable and reliable electricity to South Australian households and small-to-medium businesses.
“Enabling local businesses to fire up their backup generators and supply the electricity market will add a revenue stream for the businesses and deliver lower prices for everyone else,” Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said.
“The plan to utilise backup generation [assets] that are virtually idle mirrors the government’s decision to allow the State Government’s 276MW of backup generation to operate in the electricity market.
“It is common sense to make use of resources that are currently underutilised for the benefit of both the owners of the assets and the wider community.”
The program will bring approximately 20MW of demand side generation capacity into the National Electricity Market (NEM) over the three-year trial.
The program will support approximately 40 small-to-medium sized commercial and industrial businesses across agribusiness, food processing, health, manufacturing, data storage and more, by allowing them to participate in demand response programs.
Head of Enel X Asia and Oceania, Jeff Renaud, said the company identified significant latent demand response capability in South Australia, which can be captured relatively quickly to address system security, reliability and affordability concerns.
“Participating businesses will use their backup generator as a flexible asset in the energy market. This allows them to actively manage energy consumption and costs, earn revenue and maximise their investment in backup generation. Increasing use of these assets which can lay idle means better use of capital,” Mr Renaud said.
“The program will also contribute to electricity system reliability and provide network benefits by reducing excessive electricity demand during peak periods. This is done by switching from grid power to onsite backup generation. This brings wholesale market affordability benefits for all South Australian energy users.”
Enel X is looking for more businesses to join the Backup Boost program, with no upfront costs to businesses looking to participate.
The trial aims to cement South Australia as a world leader in addressing the challenges of a changing energy generation mix and capturing the opportunities associated with a more active demand side.