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Western Australia’s energy future has taken a step forward as Project Symphony’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP) Pilot aggregated its first package of residentially generated energy.

Project Symphony also successfully engaged in a simulated bi-directional Wholesale Electricity Market. 

AEMO Executive General Manager Western Australia and Strategy, Kate Ryan, said, “The Pilot reached a major milestone with the successful testing of the intelligent systems required to orchestrate 200kW of energy over a simulated bi-directional balancing market trading interval. 

“This is the first step in realising the full capabilities of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) such as rooftop solar, batteries, and large appliances in supporting the energy transition to grids capable of handling 100 per cent instantaneous penetration. It is a significant milestone not only by the project partners involved, but for the future of Western Australia.” 

Project Symphony is a key deliverable of the Western Australian Government’s Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap with its project partners: Western Power acting as the Distribution System Operator; Synergy acting as the Aggregator; and AEMO acting as the Distribution Market Operator. 

Tom Butler, Manager Distributed Markets Western Australia, said that collaboration and knowledge sharing were essential in achieving this recent milestone and for the Pilot’s ongoing success.

“The system integration testing saw seven organisations, including project and technology partners across five different time zones, conduct 20 integration tests over five days.

“It involved the partners `platforms’ communicating with each other, providing both instructions and responses that support real electron flow changes to and from DER, whilst engaging with a simulated market environment. It is a great achievement for everyone involved,” Mr Butler said. 

Project Symphony is now focused on integrating more customers and additional third-party aggregators, with the objective of orchestrating 800-900 DER assets across 500 homes and businesses.

Further testing will continue for different use case scenarios until the VPP system stability period commences, currently planned for October 2022.

The aim is to demonstrate how the VPP can respond to challenges to the power system whilst also delivering more value to customers from their assets enabling them to participate in current and future energy markets and services. 

Project Symphony has received support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of ARENA’s Advanced Renewables Program.

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